exciting

The Coffee Exchange

I was inspired by Liz’s project, Forty Days of Fika, to make my own list of coffee places to visit in my new city. Further pushed by Ash’s development of her blog, coffee with ashley, I broke down and plucked one place off my list to visit today.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was excited for a new coffee place, exploring a new part of the city, and of course, coffee. What compounded my excitement was their online menu. Zombie drinks. What are zombie drinks? I wondered the same thing. Walking in gave me my answer: White espresso, which supposedly has twice the amount of caffeine as normal espresso. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 🙂

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After the cozy outside seating, bright flowers, bright blues, and “Gluten-free items available” sign on the front window, the first thing that struck me was the door handle. A bronze elephant head. Very interesting, very unique, very funky.  When I opened the door, I looked straight to the back. The brick & wood walls, the artistic canvases, the variety of seating. A rather large business meeting was being held around a large round table in front of the ordering area. Seemingly in the middle of everything and yet out of the way. Interesting. And the office chairs around the table that the folks were sitting in: high backed, comfortable, rolling office chairs. Interesting.

I chose a table right next to the window and almost instantly regretted the decision because the sun was already beating down strongly at 9:30am. But I decided to order before perusing the other tables. Before ordering however, I put my stuff down and took a look around. There was a book nook, a large bulletin board covered with fliers, announcements, advertisements, etc., a display case of seran-wrapped homemade lemon bars, pumpkin bread, cookies, and all sorts of other goodies. A table set up in front of the case had cream, sugar, honey, clean spoons, a spot for dirty spoons, napkins.

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Walking further into the shop, I stared in amazement at the menu. Huge, covering almost the entire wall, so many things to choose from. In addition to a large variety of coffee & espresso drinks, they also serve salads, sandwiches, and had a small liquor section at the end of the bar. Interesting! While the gentleman in front of me was ordering, I took the time to try and take in everything on the counter and on the wall in front of me. Fliers, treats, bumper stickers, decorations.

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I noticed a couple batches of what looked like peanut butter cookies on the counter. Homemade goodies. 🙂 After looking over the menu, I asked the barista what she liked best. She pointed out a few options, then pointed out a new zombie drink they had recently added to the menu: the Dirty Zombie. I.e. white espresso, dark chocolate, and peanut butter syrup. That one was definitely calling my name. After I paid I walked back to my table, taking in the business meeting and the people that were trickling in here and there. The gentleman who had been in front of me in line had taken the table I was going to switch to, so I sat back down at my original table and just observed. They called out my drink, I took it to my table, and marveled at it.

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And the table. The table had coffee beans IN it.

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How cool is that?!

I gradually worked my way past the delicious whipped cream and took a sip. Decadence. Heaven in a cup for sure.

For a while I just sat there and soaked everything in. People trickled in and out. Two ladies at the next table over seemed to be having a cooking discussion, sharing articles and tricks. The gentleman was reading something in the paper and writing occasional notes on a notepad. Three young women in business attire came in and got coffee drinks to go. It seemed to be a popular place for business people, but was still had a casual and laidback environment and feel to it. I figured I should open my computer and try to get some work done but I was too entranced with the place and the people. I sat there, sipping my coffee and observing, until the gentleman got up and left. As he walked out he met my eye and told me to have a good day. That is what I love about coffee shops; the genuine companionship you feel, even if you never say a word to each other. I smiled and said the same to him, then moved to his now vacated-table. It was much cooler, and I opened my laptop to work.

I did get some studying done, but I couldn’t help but notice the people who were coming and going. It was fascinating to watch: women in running outfits, men in suits and ties, a lady with a bluetooth, two friends grabbing coffee before going about their day.

Eventually I wrapped up the section I was working on and packed up my stuff. I hadn’t kept time on how long I’d been there but I figured my parking time was almost up. I was reluctant to leave, but that gives me all the more reason to come back!

Instead of heading straight back home, I decided to tour the street a bit more and see where it headed. Let’s just say, I found the downtown part of the Springs, one way streets and all. Yes, I hate one way streets. But instead of being fearful and just pledging to stay away from it, I’m going to take it as a challenge. I will learn the layout of the downtown and be able to drive there confidently. Plus, it is much more beautiful than my hometown’s downtown. And I found a few signs leaded to a park that I have not yet checked out! On to another adventure with Jayde. 🙂

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As soon as I got home, I took Jayde for a walk (i.e. squirrel hunting). She had a blast. We walked around the complex for about an hour. She treed many squirrels. At one point three different squirrels went three different directions and she had no idea which way to go. My girl is comical. I get such a kick out of her. 🙂

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I’m definitely going to be exploring more coffee shops in town, so expect more posts of that!

Peace&Pawprints

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The Next Big Adventure!

This will probably be the only post you’ll see from me for at least a week. I am getting Internet in my apartment on the 19th.

The past few days have been long, stressful, and tiring!

On Wednesday morning my uncle and my dad brought the u-haul trailer and we loaded ‘er up with a couch, mattresses, a box spring, and lots & lots of boxes, with a few lamps and odd baskets thrown on top. And a broom. That afternoon I went with Ashley to our good ‘ol Starbucks, the place that had been our second home the entire school year and summer. We gave homemade cookies to the baristas that had become like friends and had our last specialty drinks.

At the buttcrack of dawn on Thursday, we loaded up the last few things, I got Jayde settled into her kennel seat, said my extended ‘see ya later’s, and hit the road. The worst part was saying bye to Ashley, and then to Parker. Gosh I’m going to miss that little man so much. 😦 At least I can Facetime and text Ashley though. (She’s off to Nebraska to study forensic science, something she’s very passionate about. So as much as I’m going to miss her, I’m so happy she gets to go to the school of her choice and study what she loves.)

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The ride was riddled with gas and bathroom breaks. We drove straight through Nebraska (I didn’t realize mountain time began in Nebraska!) and then hit Colorado. Okay. When I think of Colorado, I think of mountains (as I’m sure lots of people do, right?). Lots of big, rocky, jagged peaks poking holes through the clouds with earthly tones of red, browns, & greens breaking the blue monotonous sky. Well, my uncle led the way and he took his old trucking route that he knew best. Let’s just say the edges of Colorado make Nebraska & Iowa seem anything BUT flat. We didn’t see mountains until we were actually in the Springs!

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Jayde was absolutely phenomenal the entire way. She slept peacefully in her kennel, got out for all the bathroom breaks and did her thing, then went back to sleeping during the ride. When we finally got there, we found out we couldn’t move in until the next day, Friday. So we spent about an hour and a half searching the town for a restaurant and a motel that would accept dogs. To say it was frustrating after a 9 hour drive is an understatement. We were all tired and worn out from the drive and just wanted to fill our bellies and go to sleep. It’s a huge, busy town with confusing streets (at least to me). When we finally did those things, I did not sleep well at all. Not sure if it was the bed or the whole ordeal (probably both) but I woke up feeling like I had fallen off a mountain in my sleep.

After breakfast – we got up early and our appointment was at 10am but we were ready to go by 9am – Mom and I went to find coffee while Dad and my Uncle Bob went back to the apartment to see if they could start unloading. Mom and I trailed in not long after and went straight to the office to check in and sign the lease. Holy moly I felt like I was signing my life away – which I guess I kind of was. 😛

A nice neighbor helped us take the couch and mattresses up the stairs (well, one went up over the balcony instead of up the stairs :P) and we started getting everything set in place. Boxes upon boxes piled up in my new bedroom. The coffeemaker got settled in its spot on my counter beside the sink in the kitchen. Jayde’s kennel is my end table in the living room. 🙂

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After everything was unloaded and pretty much settled, the u-haul trailer was returned to the company and Uncle Bob & Dad brought lunch back. Uncle Bob left soon after. He’s one of the best men I know and was such a big help on this trip. He towed the trailer and helped pack and unpack. I am so blessed to call him my uncle. ❤

Mom and Dad helped me get everything organized, then we found a bank and got my checking account set up. After that we went shopping for necessities and groceries. (Mom basically led me to have green accents in my apartment, of which I happily complied. xD) They were such a big help and bought everything for me to get me started off right. When I saw that they wouldn’t let me pay for anything, I was so touched. They are so good to me and I’m so thankful to have such wonderful people as my parents.

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I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I was Friday night. I had stress cramps and didn’t feel good. Honestly, I was dreading Mom and Dad leaving the next day, because then I would be truly alone. I gave them my bed and I slept on the couch.

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Saturday morning we woke up bright and early. The three of us explored town a little bit and found a dog event, which turned out to be an annual event held by the All Breed Rescue & Training group of Colorado Springs. We looked around there for a bit, I signed up for a couple contests with Jayde that were later in the day (with the mindset that that would distract me from being alone), and then we had lunch. After getting back to the apartment, Mom & Dad left. I tried my best not to bawl my eyes out and chase the van down the street. In other words, I tried not to let my fears get the best of me – and I succeeded.

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All my friends and family have been such good support yesterday and today (Sunday). I appreciate every single call and text. ❤ Amberness lifted my spirits by proclaiming that I was now independent and could do whatever I want so why not order pizza and sit in my apartment naked?! While I didn’t take that offer, I do appreciate her wonderful reminder that this is a new beginning of independence that I need to embrace.

And of course, Jayde has been an absolute angel. She’s enjoying the dog park, and is learning the layout of her new apartment and grounds. She’s so well-behaved and has been so calm, taking everything in stride. Even more so than I realized, she is my rock.

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We found a couple awesome public parks to visit and explore. One is the Bear Creek Dog Park and it is the biggest, most beautiful dog park I’ve ever seen. There are so many trails for humans and dogs. Underbrush trails for the dogs to explore, a creek for the dogs to splash around in, some uphill trails to give legs a work out. And it is HUGE.

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I am slowly learning the layout of the town. The streets are much more confusing than my small hometown and the traffic is much busier. With the help of my GPS and my iPhone, I’ve only managed to get lost twice, and that was mostly on purpose because I was exploring some streets. They seem to just randomly change into different streets without notice.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of stories and photos to share later. I need to edit the two sessions I did before I left Sioux City, also. I have lots of good books to read. Before we left, Ashley gave me the Manson book she won from Goodreads. I’m going to read it asap and get it back to her so she can read it. 🙂 Because I have my own apartment now, I have:

  • my own bathroom (no more crowded dresser!)
  • no TV (stupid thing, anyway. I only want to get one to watch movies on.)
  • peace and quiet whenever I feel like it! (reading time!)
  • loud music whenever I feel like it! (with respect to my neighbors of course :P)

I’m trying to stay positive and to look at what I do have. But it is so hard to look at pictures of Parker, Mandy, Buddy, & Secret, and my niece, and my sister, and my parents, and Ashley & Amber, and know that I can’t see them any time I want. 😦 However I know that if I brood on that, I’ll never figure out this whole thing called “independence.” And that is the ultimate goal. ❤

Peace&Pawprints

It’s that ‘C’ word again

Change.

I’ve never been good with change. I like routine, certainty, knowing the next steps, the next stages. Change scares me because there is never any certainty. You don’t know what’s going to happen, even if you think you do. You just have to keep walking, see what happens, and deal with it as it comes. Sounds like life to me.

I’m not good at thinking on my feet. I’m much better at thinking things through before acting on anything. (I think that comes from my fear of being wrong/doing the wrong thing.) And even when I do think things through, if I do not know *exactly* what’s going to happen, I always expect the worse scenario.

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Today I put the deposit down for an apartment. In a big city. Far far far away from home. An apartment that will be mine and Jayde’s home for the next 10 months at least. A city where I do not know anyone, have no support system. A city that I am not familiar with at all. Just me and my dog. While I am excited for a new adventure, I am nervous and scared in equal amount. I’ve never been good with meeting new people or trying new things. I’ve always been one to sit back and watch before doing or saying anything. And at this point in time, all I can think about is everything that could go wrong.

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Talking to my co-workers, I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement that’s made me feel a tad bit better. The city I’m moving to is very dog friendly and has lots of dog parks. I’m hoping this means I will have a better chance of meeting some like-minded (read: dog crazii) people, as that is going to be my go-to. Jayde is going to be my rock, because in the new city, I’m going to have no one else (at least at first). Being in a new area also means new scenery and lots more photos! I am really excited to get Jayde in front of some scenic backgrounds. 🙂 At this point, I have to keep in mind the positive aspects of this new adventure and try not to worry about things so much.

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There is one thing that’s been weighing on my mind for a couple weeks now. The Ashhole, as some of you might know, is my closest & best friend. I’ve never moved before. I’ve lived in the same house my entire life. I never had to change schools. I’ve never had to leave loved ones behind. And while it is “natural” to leave your parents at some point in your life – to move out, become more independent and responsible for yourself and your actions, try your hand out in the real world – it never crossed my mind that I’d be moving away from my best friend someday. Friends are supposed to always be there. Sure, we can talk over text and Skype. We can visit on holidays and birthdays. We can keep in contact over social media. But it doesn’t seem like it’d be the same thing. Or maybe that’s my fear. No, I know that’s my fear. I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind, where it nigs and nags at my thoughts.

So I’ve been spending as much time as possible with Ashley. Amazing she hasn’t gotten tired of me yet. 🙂

Peace.