exploring the springs

Just Dutch

I began this post a few days ago (the 18th) but didn’t have the energy to put the pictures in. I was more trying to get my thoughts out.

To say today was great would be an understatement.

The weather was beautiful (read: NO RAIN!!!!) and I was having an excellent hair day. I knew that I couldn’t sit around my apartment for another whole day like I had been over the weekend. So despite not wanting to spend money for at least a few more days, I decided to visit a coffee place that I had heard rave reviews about through co-workers and a fellow dog park attendee. Plus, the place in question is having a special: show your student ID and get any coffee for just $1. How cool is that?! So anyway I figured since it was only going to be a dollar I could do that.

So Jayde and I get in the car, I slide my shades on, Jayde sticks her head out the open window, and off we go. Moving car meets red stoplight. At said stoplight (corner of the intersection, really) is a couple who is there pretty much every day. A homeless couple, that is. Today their sign said, “Anything Helps Amen.” Having driven by them many times before, I knew it was only a matter of time before I broke down. While I am suspicious of people, wondering if they’re trying to pull off a scam or other awful thing, the scrawniness of these two and their consistency at the same street corner, and the fact that they are always together… I went to Subway and got a footlong and bottle of water. When I came back around, I had to lean over the passenger seat and get the woman’s attention in order to give her the water and the sandwich. The amount of gratitude in her voice when she saw the bottle of water I was giving her, nearly brought tears to my eyes. I don’t understand how someone gets in the position of being homeless, having to lose dignity and beg from others for food and money, but it is so so sad (the legitimate cases, that is).

The experience shook me. I felt good for having done a good deed. Perhaps that water and sandwich was all they would eat today. But it jolted me, as if the barrier between “oh everything is good and dandy” and the darker side of the world was suddenly taken down a notch. I guess you could say I lost some of my ignorance today concerning the realities of what some people live with and through. There is a big difference between reading about, or seeing videos/documentaries of, homeless people, children with cancer, animal abuse, etc. etc. and actually being there, involved in maybe, or even just seeing with your own eyes, or even better your heart. It’s so easy to views things we see in the media as just another news story or just another statistic. But when you are there, you see the individual or individuals who are affected. It is real, it is raw. It hurts. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

After that experience – still clear as day in my head – I turned on Siri and used Map (tell me you didn’t read that in Dora’s voice xD) as a back-up to get to my destination. I knew the street names and such but I wasn’t sure how far along the streets I was supposed to go. (Yes, I’d be hopelessly lost without modern technology.)

End destination:

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I was tempted to use the walk-up window instead of the drive-thru, but I hadn’t seen anywhere to park and there were quite a few cars. So I waited patiently in line, wondering what I would order. There was no menu to look at while waiting, so I had to wait until I actually got to the window to peruse what they had. I asked the girl (who had immediately awwhh’ed at Jayde and given her a treat – definitely a winner in my book) if my student ID as a grad student would work and she said yes. So I told her since I’d never been there before I wasn’t sure what I wanted yet. I quickly decided on a Caramelizer, iced. She made it right there and I don’t think Jayde ever took her eyes off of what they were doing inside. She was very intrigued, or maybe just wanted another treat. Either way, the girl handed me a large iced coffee drink and said, “Actually the first one is on us. So enjoy!” and she gave Jayde another treat. Um, yes! How awesome is that?! To say I was excited would be the second understatement of the day. And the drink was delicious, just fyi. πŸ‘

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I still didn’t want to go back home right away, so I decided to explore this new section of town I had exposed myself to. I think I learned the layout a tad better, so that’s a start. And I love love love the Spring’s downtown. The buildings, the stores, the shops, the little restaurants and cafes, the statues and other artistic pieces, the rustic look, the majestic feel, the variety of people, the busy-ness of everybody going about their business. While I’m not one for lots of people, today I felt less like a tourist and more like a part of the town. (But I still felt like a tourist snapping photos with my phone every chance I got.) Yes, I actually enjoyed seeing everybody out and about. I didn’t feel crowded or overwhelmed. Perhaps it was because the tidal wave that hit Colorado has now passed and the weather was just gorgeous, so you couldn’t help but be in a good mood and just thankful.

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Peace.

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The Coffee Exchange

I was inspired by Liz’s project,Β 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,Β 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.Β 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. πŸ™‚

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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. Β 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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

Peace&Pawprints