Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: latte

Day Alone In Pasadena

Monday I had the day off and decided to go to Pasadena alone.

I’m not sure why I wanted to visit Old Pasadena, but the idea popped into my head and off I went. Well, first I had to pick up and return tables from a work event. And I had to drive kind of far in mid-day traffic.

But once I found parking, I was off.

To lots of walking around.

I started near a park and wove my way up past Castle Green and then on to the main drag of shops. I’m always surprised how much of a place is generic – the same stores as anywhere else in the country.

It was hot out, the sun beating down on me as I walked with a fabric backpack on. I stopped at The Juice Farm. Sipped on this deliciousness while I walked around The Paper Source store and past a bunch of other places.

I love the old buildings – the brick and fired stone.

My original plan was to go to Intelligentsia (how cooooool does this place look??) and write and read in the cool darkness of a hipster coffee shop while sipping a fancy latte.

But the public restroom gods conspired against me. Or, I guess, the lack of public restroom gods… because it was hot out I drank a lot of water, then I had that smoothie, and then I needed to pee. Really badly, but there didn’t seem to be a public restroom anywhere. I even walked all the way down back down to the park to try some port-a-potties I saw and they were locked. LOCKED. Port-a-potties with big locks on them. WTF.

I wanted to spend my lunch money somewhere I’ve never been, but the need for a bathroom became the priority. When I did a loop through the coffee shop I didn’t see a restroom at all. I wasn’t that hungry yet so I felt frustrated – here I was trekking all over, trying to figure out where to eat lunch just to use a restroom.

Did I mention it was very, very hot?

With time running out, I stepped into Crepes de Paris, saw they had a restroom, and ordered food immediately. It was pretty much empty, so I had my pick of tables. Ate my egg and cheese crepe with a latte that was unbelievably strong and not worth drinking. I read a book and sat in the quiet.

It was magnificent.

I don’t know why people feel uncomfortable eating alone in restaurants. I find it relaxing and super enjoyable. I read more of The Highly Sensitive Person, stared into space, jotted some notes in my journal and enjoyed the a/c when the main door to the patio wasn’t open.

It started to get late and I was worried about traffic (was about 25m away from home, but in LA that could mean a 2hr drive). And I had one more stop to make…

Vroman’s Bookstore.

Come on, you didn’t think my day alone would include walking, eating alone, coffee, reading and writing and not include a stop in a bookstore??

I kind of wish I’d gone here first – I could’ve just eaten in their bakery and I found a little mall on my walk over that had public restrooms. At least now I know for the next time I visit where everything is.

The store was large and pretty noisy. People talking, telephones ringing and kids roaming around. I felt jittery and uncomfortable from the latte and the heat. I was pretty tired by this point and had a mile walk back to my car.

But I tried to enjoy wandering the stacks, reading the little tags that employees had written recommendations on, and basically satiating myself with books. I was overwhelmed and inspired – I wanted to go home and read and write forever. There were so many books, how could I even get to a small portion of them in my lifetime? I thought about taking notes on the ones that jumped out at me, creating a To Read Later list. I wanted to buy a few but also wanted to save money. It made me miss tangible, paper books in a really deep way.

On the walk back to the car, I enjoyed the late afternoon light, even though it was still hot out. I figured out where my car was and cranked the a/c while I drove home. I didn’t hit any traffic and the rest of the evening was relaxing.

After the chaos last week, I’m really glad I had a chance to travel alone for a day, even though I didn’t leave LA.

When I first read Mae Cheverette’s blog, and how she travels alone, I was so intrigued, her posts pulled at my heartstrings. Then there’s The Noisy Plume’s travels and my own day trip around SF 2 years ago now that I remember so fondly, and the deep pull Alaska had on me.

There is something about being in a new place, walking a lot, observing and experiencing without really having to talk to anyone, that opens my heart up. It feels so luxurious, so new, so silly that it can have that affect on me, but it does. It also feels selfish, but in a really indulgent, put-myself-first way. It’s exactly what Julia Cameron calls an artist date – “assigned play”.

I needed this break from routine, from my neighborhood and from the emotional turmoil I felt all last week. I’m so glad I went. xo

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6 of 52: Year of Ocean

Biked down to Venice Beach alone. Went to Menotti’s Coffee Shop for a latte. Walked down to the water, snapping photos along the way. Sat myself down on a beach towel, ate a peanut butter sandwich, and wrote my morning pages.

I welcomed this year by swimming in the waves. And I can see that this visit was a way to welcome in my thirtieth year, but I didn’t do anything symbolic.

In my writing, I noted that I am feeling better: Like I finally caught a wave after sitting on my board for a while. I have ideas, inklings, things I want to do + feel I have the energy for it.

And then I wrote:

It’s not that the fuzziness is gone, not that I’ve reached clarity or a higher consciousness. And def haven’t heard from God, but it’s as if I was in a dark and musty room. Cobwebs of regret strung between walls hung with failures and x-marks the spot of where I could’ve done better (can’t we always? but it’s not productive to dwell) It’s actually as if a door cracked open. That there is now a beam of sun, however weak, but warm, reaching through to guide me out. Beckoning me, that this time of darkness is almost over. And I will soon be able to see.

Cheers to the ocean, to writing, and to feeling lighter. Being able to see again.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

Time For Some Deeper Work

This week was a quiet week. It was a go to trivia and happy hour week. It was do a lot of cleaning and laundry week. Mostly, it was a good to be back home week.

I’ve rested, wasted time and not done work when I should. And then I did a ton of work in a burst. So much of my own energy is sifting through my body, my days. Like I can’t hold it in my hands. There is drama, red-tape, roundabout conversations that lead to no action items or conclusions.

After one such round of emails today, I thought, I can’t keep doing this. I need something more.

More creative. More in-depth. More challenging.

And not to actually leave my job or anything outrageous, but to shift my energy. I am becoming too complacent. Work is easy and the hours roll by. I’ve been living the good life for the better part of 3 years now. Doing what I want. Struggling with my own issues, yes, but really learning to manage myself and enjoy my life.

I think I’m done taking in. This is not to say I won’t need rest periods or inspiration. Everything has a season. But instead, I’m feeling that it’s time for some deeper work, to put some things out into the world.

If I only knew what those things were.

This Grateful Season – Perfect Lattes

2012 can go down as the year I became a pretentious latte drinker. It started a year ago when I found my favorite latte in LA (so far) Espresso Profeta. My old love of pumpkin spice lattes do not even cut it anymore. ::gross:: I want whole milk, well pulled, one-shot lattes. I even have a weekly ritual. I’ve tried lattes in Boston, Hawaii, Vegas and San Francisco. My Boston go to was Espresso Royale. But, San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee was the best I’ve ever had (pictured).

The morning I sat writing in the beautiful sunlit of San Fran, sipping the latte pictured above, was awesome. I walked from my hotel in Union Square down to Mint Street and into a expansive coffee shop with floor to ceiling windows and a line out the door. Everyone seemed perfectly dressed in cozy layers, wire-rimmed glasses and tattoos peeking out, with the baristas working double-time to fill the orders. I loved it.

I sat at the bar, a window seat, and started writing my morning pages. A skinny guy with a perfect salt-n-pepper 5 o’clock shadow sat down next to me with his coffee and iPad.

“That’s pretty analogue of you,” he said, pointing to my handwritten pages.

“Well, I have an iPad for work and I can’t stand typing emails on it, let alone writing anything more.”

In response, he showed me a stylus in his hand and we laughed. He pulled up an app and showed me he can draw and write all of his notes as if it’s paper, but it’s all digital. Awesome. And as I looked at his notes, I saw sketches of toys.

“Are you a…toy… designer?” I ask.

“Um. Actually, yes. That’s exactly what I am,” he said. Hah. Amazing.

So we had a really engaging conversation about toy creations, my plans for San Fran, and then on to the space shuttle traveling through Los Angeles. Haha.

After we said our good-byes, I went to photograph a corner of the room where a white plate and napkin were waiting to be cleared. A barista came over to clear the counter and paused so I could take my photo.

“Are you a photographer?” she asked.

“No. Not really, but I’m visiting and I can’t get over how gorgeous the light is here” I said.

And she went on to tell me she’s a film photographer, old cameras, and she doesn’t have a website yet… but such a fun conversation too.

So, my trip to San Fran was awesome and landed me the best latte of the year. Grateful for the whole experience.

Here’s last year’s latte post (at least I’m consistent…?)

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!