Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Insert warm, fuzzy title here

I haven’t written in quite some time. Every day I periodically log things away in my head as I think of them or as they happen to me—“Oh, I need to remember to write about this later…” Unfortunately, by the time I get home from work or wherever I’ve been that day, I’m more concerned with plopping into my bed and I’m often asleep before my head hits the pillow. So I apologize for my absence. My sister scolded me today for not updating my blog recently enough, so here I am, for those of you who are actually reading my lil’ stream of consciousness here.

Yesterday deserves to be written about. It started out as a fairly boring, run o’ the mill, long day at work. I worked in the box office until 8pm. And at the ripe old age of 22, I still don’t have a car, so I get dropped off and picked up from work most days. However, on this day, the family forgot about me. Eight o’clock rolled around and I called my mom’s cell phone to see where she was and make sure she was en route.

The phone rang and I was greeted with, “Oh crap, we totally forgot!” Roughly eighteen minutes later, my sister rolled up to the curb in our family’s maroon Buick and took me home.
I had late, laid-back dinner of leftovers with my family. We hadn’t eaten together in a long time and it was nice. There was a lot of laughing—hearty, belly laughter that makes your milk come out your nose. I don’t remember what we laughed about, just that it was funny.

After dinner and dishes with the family, I headed back to Plano to see my friend Nicole. It was her birthday and we’d planned to hang out after she had a birthday dinner out with her own family. We didn’t have any real plans; we just knew we wanted to spend some time together. Some other friends from work wanted us to join up with them for the evening, but we ended up just keeping to ourselves.

We sprawled on her huge, pink bed, talking for a while. I felt like I was at a sleepover. I’d been craving a Sonic chocolate milkshake all day, and I asked Nicole if she was interested.

“Well, sure!” she all but shouted and sat up and leapt off her bed in one smooth motion. (Last summer, we got to know the Sonic down the road a little too well, as we’d go there after work when we’d both close together.) We both ordered our favorite drinks; I slurped my chocolate milkshake and Nicole her Diet Coke with vanilla. I rolled the windows down, we leaned our seats back and propped our feet on the dashboard. I finished my drink and suggested we just drive around for a bit. I felt like seeing somewhere new.

So we drove and drove and drove until we were out of Plano and finally out of the familiar. Soon the roads were dark and dusty and we found ourselves in remote towns I’d only heard of. For a Texas night in late July, it was actually quite pleasant outside and there was a bit of a wispy breeze every now and then, so we kept the windows down. We talked a lot as we drove, but there were times where we were just silent too, and there was nothing but the sound of the car and the faint background music of my Amber Rubarth cd in the stereo. Even the sky helped make it a perfect night. The moon wasn’t completely full, but it was so bright and surrounded by fluffy, moving clouds. That sky made me wish I was a painter.

We found ourselves in Prosper and finally, Celina, Texas. Nicole spotted a thin, brown sign for the “Old Celina Cemetery.” She got really excited and insisted we at least find it and drive around. So we did just that; my huge Buick rocked from side to side a little as we slowly rolled up the gravel road and found the wrought iron fence and gate surrounding the headstones from generations of Celina citizens. As soon as we found the place, Nicole was petrified that we were going to happen upon some backwoods, cult gathering or ritual. I am here to say that the short drive through the Celina cemetery was quite uneventful.

When we finished our tour of the cemetery, we decided to turn around and head back the way we came and back to Nicole’s house.

All in all, it was a night that made me wish I knew how to paint and made me want to write. So… better late than never….

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Pleasant Evening

Tonight I spent a wonderful, laid-back and carefree evening with a friend—a friend I haven’t seen enough of this summer. It was a night that made me feel young. Not that I’m saying I’m now old and wizened… But it was a night that made me feel thirteen again—in a good way, mind you. I laughed a lot, which felt really great. As I drove home, I realized I don’t know if I’ve laughed as much as I did today since I’ve been home for the summer. We laughed, reminisced, told stories, and ATE. We spent an hour at Cici’s, stuffing our faces with pizza, garlic bread and those warm, soft cinnamon rolls that melt in your mouth. We’d eat and let our stomachs settle. Then we’d do it all over again. Once we’d finished our meal that would’ve made both our mothers frown, we drove the few blocks to her house. There we talked more, watched an episode of Gilmore Girls, and yes, we ate some more.

I knew it was going to be a good night, when on my way to my friend’s house, I couldn’t help but see the amazing sunset the sky was gifting to us. I was driving down the George H. W. Bush tollway and I was pretty high up, so I had a spectacular view. The trees, water towers and usually mundane looking buildings made a small, black silhouette against the bright sky. The sun was huge and a bright, flaming orange, and I practically watched the horizon come up to meet it. In literally only about five seconds, I watched it disappear behind a stretch of light purple clouds. I realized how important a few seconds had been to my sunset viewing experience, and I was grateful that I looked up when I did. And with that, the sun reappeared after another several seconds. As I drove down the exit ramp and made my way down Coit road, I kept my eyes toward the west as much as possible, watching the clouds and the light and colors change as the earth shifted.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Little Things

Yesterday was a day for the little things--small, seemingly insignificant happenings that combined to make a pretty great day.

Part of me hates to say that text messages helped make my day better... But hey, they're like little bits of mail! I received several texts from a couple friends whom I miss a lot. I woke up to a few texts in particular, which then had me feeling inspired the rest of the day. I remembered my small notepad and pen and I stood at my post at the podium at work, and in between tearing tickets and directing customers to their movies, I wrote down all the thoughts swirling around my head and even penned a few short poems on the spot. It felt really good. Really, this is something I've tried to do regularly, but I haven't felt so inspired in quite a while.

Something that would normally have ruined my day actually ended up making it quite nice in a roundabout sort of way... I forgot my lunch. In the interest of saving money and hopefully also calories, I've been bringing a sack lunch to work this summer. The system has been working pretty well, minus the occasional day when my coworkers decide to go to Sonic or Potbelly and I have to fight the temptation to get food with the rest of them. So yesterday when I forgot my lunch, a friend at work was going to Whole Foods for a sandwich and she offered to spot me the money for one. I was pretty hungry at this point so I accepted her kind offer. Well, let me tell you. that was probably most amazing sandwich I have had ina very long time. Granted, I was also famished by the time I ate it, so that likely had something to do with it. It was turkey, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and some sort of chipotle ranch sauce on a large, ciabatta roll. Let's just say, that sandwich alone could have made my day.

I won't bore you, trying to explain the mundane details of my job. Suffice it to say, work got a little hectic yesterday and several customers recognized just how awesome and on top of things I am and was. One mom told me she could tell I was on top of things. Hey, I'm just like everyone else--every now and then, a little self-esteem boost can't hurt...

I came home from work yesterday to the smell of cinnamon wafting from the oven. My brother had baked a package of Cinnabon cookies we'd had in the freezer. I didn't even know such a thing existed! These cookies were delicious and I realize this is just another instance where food made me happy.

Later last night I went out with my friend Kim to the Village Burger Bar in Allen, where our friend Anne Marie works. It was a fun laid back evening hanging out with friends. Kim and I topped off the evening with one of their combo baskets of fries--shoestring fries and sweet potato fries!

So in summary, yesterday was a good day. My good day was due largely to food with some friends sprinkled in here and there...

Now good night before I fall asleep with my computer on my stomach again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cafe Brazil

Tonight I went to Cafe Brazil for some coffee, ice water and conversation with my sister and some of her friends. I like to think that they've sort of become my too... I think I've moved past that awkward "Facebook friends" stage with most of them... The point is-- we were at Cafe Brazil. And Cafe Brazil deserves to be written about.
Cafe Brazil is a place that without fail, almost always makes me start waxing poetic...or prose, as the case may be. Unfortunately, much of the waxing often happens in my head.

Cafe Brazil is a Dallas area "hot spot."-- not a wifi "hot spot," though I think they do have wifi. When I've had to describe it to people before, I call it an "exotic diner." Their slogan is "Not just another coffee house." There are several different locations sprinkled throughout the metroplex, and they are all open 24 hours at least on the weekends. My favorite and most frequented location, near Mockingbird Lane, is always open.

Cafe Brazil has a patio full of umbrella-covered, wrought iron tables and chairs. Walk inside and you are confronted with a large, sprawling room packed with square tables and chairs. The place is often packed; I don't know that I have ever been there when it is not packed, even at three in the morning. Across the restaurant from the front door is a long bar where customers can sit and eat. Behind the bar is the kitchen where everything from omelettes to crepes to barbeque quesadillas to chipotle steak and eggs to fried ice cream and something delicious called an espresso freeze are prepared. Oh, and they have over thirty flavors and kinds of coffee, which are available at a serve yourself coffee bar in a corner of the restaurant. My personal favorite is Snickerdoodle.

I realize I'm starting to sound a little like an advertisement...
Honestly, the food is good, but I always enjoy going to Cafe Brazil because there is always so much to look at. The walls are a startling shade of avocado green and bright orange, and there are samples of local artists' work scattered across the walls. But aside from that, I do some of my best people watching when I'm at Cafe Brazil, and I am always struck by the vast variety of clientele who frequent the joint, especially during the wee hours.

Though the restaurant is often busy whenever I go, this evening the place seemed unusually packed for a Wednesday night. Our group started out at a table for four, but as our number increased and we realized there wasn't room for us all inside, we decided to relocate to the patio.
At our indoor table, we were flanked by two very business-y parties. A pair of girls--maybe college age-- sat to our right, studying and eating. They were both dressed casually, in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops, and their hair was tied up and out of the way. One wore glasses and the other had a pair pushed up to the top of her head. They each had a glass of soda and they were sharing a huge platter of nachos. Several crumpled napkins littered the table, and they had two binders full of powerpoint notes open in front of them. From where I sat, I couldn't make out what they were studying or discussing, but the girl with the glasses on her head talked to her study buddy and gestured wildly with her pen.
To our left was a small group of men dressed as if they'd just left the office, which I thought was odd since it was 11:15 at night. They had a lap top open in front of them, and they were all very serious as they discussed a list of bullet points on the screen, while digging into plates of enchiladas, pancakes and loaded cheese fries.

I noticed several more tables of pairs near us. A pair of bleary-eyed girls huddled over their table as they shared two decadent desserts. An intimate looking couple sat at the table next to theirs, holding hands on top of the table as they sipped their coffee and shared a single piece of cheesecake. Next to them, a more awkward couple leaned back in their chairs, haltingly picking at their late-night breakfasts. I wondered if this was perhaps the end of a not-so-successful first date.

Out on the patio, there were fewer people, probably a reaction to the muggy July night. There was a table with an older woman and a younger woman somewhere in her twenties, and I couldn't figure out their relationship. They seemed to be on friendly terms, but not necessarily intimate. They seemed to have set up camp at this table. There were several plates off different sizes with remnants of different foods, two water glasses and two coffee mugs. The older woman wore a long, colorful sundress and sandals; she held a dwindling cigarette between her fingers. Her younger companion wore tight workout shorts, a purple racerback tanktop and pink running shoes. She got up from the table multiple times to refill her coffee cup, and when she sat at the table, she fiddled with her iphone. By the end of the night, I decided they were mother and daugther, and I felt sort of sorry for them.

I think my favorite customer of the night was someone I've noticed Cafe Brazil every night I have ever been there, drinking coffee and drawing portraits of customers. He is tall and slender, and has dark skin the color of my coffee after I dribble some milk in it. He looks to be somewhere between 50 and 75...give or take... This evening he wore a well-worn, white, button up shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows. His shirt was tucked into pleated khaki pants with a dark leather woven belt. His face and hands are creased with age and the sun, and his eyes wrinkle at the corners when he smiles or concentrates on a drawing. This man is one of the best parts of going to this particular Cafe Brazil and I keep holding out for the night when maybe he'll see me and decide to make me his subject for the night...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dallas humidity ruins everything

So today was a quiet but fun day full of very old friends and very new friends. I feel like reminiscing about my day, but I am just too exhausted. Granted, I should be in bed right now, but I am not quite exhausted enough for that...

Instead, I'll dwell on the fact that due to the rain we've been having and the "cool front" Dallas has experienced, I would love to have been outside today and this evening. Aside from the humidity, tonight was a beautiful night. As I drove home, I rolled the windows down for a while. It was nice and cool as long as I didn't pay attention to the heavy, damp air fogging up my eyes and the middle of my windshield. There was a bright half moon partially obscured by thin wisps of grey cloud, and it moved around my car as I drove. I concentrated on the moon and Joshua Radin's voice crooning from the stereo and I let my hands and feet take me home. I thought about what I would do if not for the sodden ground and clammy air.

Pulling into the still, quiet driveway, I roll up the windows. I switch off the engine and gather my purse and cds from the car. I pull the cumbersome garage door closed as quietly as possible and tiptoe through my house, as the rest of my family is asleep. I slip off my sandals, dump my purse onto the floor of my bedroom and gather up the thick quilt from the foot of my bed. My sister is breathing heavily and steadily from her bed, or else I would rouse and have her come outside with me. My arms are full of blanket and my bare feet pad carefully through the black house on my way to the backyard. I slowly slide the glass door open and step onto the cool patio, bringing the door to behind me. The half moon and few stars are bright above me, but I can only see dim shadows of my dad's flower bed and our massive oak tree in our small backyard. I step onto the prickling grass and spread out my quilt. I walk across the quilt on my knees before finding the perfect spot. I collapse onto my back and rest my head on my palms, letting the unusually cool summer night air work its magic on my tired limbs. I stare straight up at the stars until my eyes water and I let myself drift.

One of the songs I listened to on repeat on my way home tonight---

This post was actually written last night.

Not much going on in my head right now. I'm mostly tired. And I feel old. I get home from work now with sore feet and a headache and I don't even feel like going anywhere or doing anything. I wish I had school to look forward to in the fall!

On another note, my family is currently watching Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. This movie is all kinds of wonderful and so much fun! If you haven't seen it, I recommend it highly. The movie was my dad's idea tonight. Last night it was some Hallmark channel original movie, also my dad's influence. "Something feel-good and schmultzy," as he said.
I'm so glad I grew up in a family of good music and old movies. And a dad who's a sensitive softie type who can spend a whole day during Christmas break watching Hallmark movies.

So I'm enjoying Tony Curtis's spoofy impersonation of Cary Grant and waiting for my friend Kim to pick me up so we can go be bums together.