scenes: coffee shop on a sunday

Something I’ve always wanted to do is chronicle the people I see on the street or at coffee shops and tell m version of what their stories might be.

The Scene

Just outside the door of the coffee shop is an older couple. They are playing Scrabble. She has her pieces laid out on the little easel and has her hand on her chin, trying to form works with the scatter of tiles in front of her. She picks up a small dictionary as the man scratches his head. He is balding, with long, scraggly hair. they both wear glasses. He stares at the board, then at her, waiting.

The Story

“Phillip, let’s go do something,” Donna said as she folded the day’s laundry.

It was a warm day outside, warmer than it had ever been in April. She blamed and was grateful for global warming as she looked out the window.

“We just went out,” Phillip called from the couch. He was reading a well-loved copy of Ishmael.

“To the store. That is not out.”

Their home was a well lived small bungalow they had thankfully bought years before. It was worth five times what they paid for it, even though it desperately needed some repairs Phillip had been “getting to” for the past five years. There was no set style, only comfort. the children had beaten the life out of the furniture and they could not bear to part with the pieces of cloth, foam and wood after the kids had moved out and were having families of their own. They had memories stored in the cushions next to the dust and grime.

Donna had stopped folding and was giving Phillip a look of tender annoyance.

Phillip sighed. He did want a cup of coffee.

“Let’s go into San Luis and grab some coffee,” he said with a hint of resignation.

He pronounced it San Lewis, not San Lou-eese as it was supposed to be pronounced. He had lived in the area too long.

Donna smiled.

“We can play Scrabble, and maybe you’ll beat me this time.”

Phillip laughed.

So, should I keep doing this? Was it any good?

Here is the thing

I am a girl. Girls, especially my kind, make plans. I have plans for the future, a little dream of how things will work out.

So, this morning, when he said that realistically it might not work out…I hung up and wanted to cry.

I was watching my plans fall, piece by piece, like a very ill-built jenga tower. I’m watching it fall and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I can’t move my life around anymore.

I can’t move out of state. I worked hard to get here and I’m not letting that go.

I don’t know what to do. None of this is up to me. And I cannot, just cannot be apart any longer. I don’t know that I’ll last another 3 years. I sometimes question if i can last another 3 months.

I hate depending on other people to decide my life. This is not how I was brought up. This is not what I want to do.

an ode: to food

I don’t often take time to think about this, but I love food.

It’s not that i just like eating, but I love eating. Eating is my reason for being. When I finish lunch, I am thinking about dinner. Even if I am stuffed to the gills, I will find room for something tasty if it passes me by. I fail, miserably, at diets.

It’s my mother. It’s my family. It’s my heritage.

Even before my mother entered culinary school, she was a cook. My earliest memories are being woken up on a Saturday by my brother jumping on my bed (even though he’s the older one) or my mom screaming for us from the kitchen. I would go downstairs, in my pajamas, and make eggs rolls.

I am the youngest, so I was only allowed the job of using a flour paste to seal and finish off the egg rolls. My brother did the mixing of meat, onions, shredded carrots and salt and pepper. My sister got to load them up. Even now, we fill the same roles.

Our kitchen was ugly. grey marble floors, pale yellow countertops and oak cabinets. But it was ours. It was — and is — the place where we gather.

We would make hundreds of egg rolls. We would eat some now, and half-fry some for later dinner parties. Depending on the party, there were plenty of other things to be done. Then, after a days worth of cooking, the house would fill. The adults would get the dining room, and the kids would take over the kitchen. We would eat. And eat. Then talk. Then eat some more.

Food was what brought the Vietnamese community together in my small Midwestern town. Food is the thing that links people far away from home. The taste takes you home for just a split second.

This is where I became a foodie. In my mother’s kitchen, sealing eggs rolls, or making chocolate mousse for an army.

my cat is staring at me

It is late. I have been out of town all day — first at a housewarming party, then at a documentary. I’ll write more about the documentary I saw tomorrow, when my brain is functioning better.

Ally is looking at me like it’s time to go to bed, but I feel the need to speak to the Interwebs for a minute.

The other blogs I write belong to an ad network/community, which has thus far been great. I took the idea of joining a ad network pretty seriously, especially because fashion blogging can get catty and I’m not one to stand for cattyness. A certain other network has been known for this in the past.

So, I joined. It was great in the beginning. A great group of women who write great stuff and help each other out. I love other bloggers because there is no sense of competition like there is in newspapering, I thought.


If you have an issue with me, I’m pretty open in saying that you can tell me. I might not like what you have to say and I might get a little defensive, but it’ll be better in the long run. If the whole living situation stuff recently has taught me anything, it’s to not get pissed over and over again. It’ll just end up being a bigger deal than it actually is.

No, All That & a isn’t a big time blog and I’m not famous. I do have another full-time job I’m pretty devoted to. So all the piddly little stuff sometimes gets lost and done later. I do not have time to really sit down and process every single blogging action I do thoroughly, for better or worse.

And if I apologize, the least you could do is accept it. Really. Saying more catty things is just going to make me like you less.

Blogging should not be like a grade school playground. I won’t quit the community or anything, but I’m still pissed about it. We’ll take the high road and not say anymore than I already have.

it’s time for a little refreshment

I went to Fresno this week for a meet and greet with the other web folk. It’s nice to hear that we’re all usually on the same page and I felt a little less inadequate, except when they were talking about software and coding. The geek in me wanted to jump up and down and scream, “Teach me this stuff, please!”

I’m also now addicted to the sixtyone. It’s basically a web player with a lot (not all) undiscovered music. Love it. Thanks to my friend Matt for getting me hooked.

In terms of what in the hell the post title means, I think I’m going to start writing again. Like, fiction writing. I told myself since this blog got on Alltop, I should probably post a little more often and in more than once sentence posts, perhaps.

I’ll start that…..tomorrow.