Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ex-Boyfriend Spotted at Favorite Grocery Store

I have one ex-boyfriend from college who still lives in Austin. We shop at the same grocery store sometimes. Over the years I've seen him approximately five times at this store. We never speak or acknowledge each other. Back in the day, he broke up with me by ignoring my phone calls and telling a friend of a friend that he didn't want to see me anymore. I think the modern version of this is called "ghosting". At the time, it broke my heart. It sucks to be dumped unceremoniously. Six months later I met Chad, and pretty much forgot about that Ex-BF.



My former, much-beloved gym shared a parking lot with this grocery store, which happens to be my favorite grocery store. Usually when I spotted Ex-BF in the past, I looked sweaty and ruddy from exercise, with little to no makeup, less than ideal fashion and unstyled hair. Since my former gym closed, I have a better chance of showing up at the grocery store wearing makeup, and with some thought given to hairstyle and outfit. On that fated day last month, as I left for the grocery store, Chad asked, "You got a hot date?" This is his funny way of telling me I look nice. Honestly I wasn't doing anything special with my outfit of jeans and t-shirt, except for accessorizing with a necklace, earrings and my wedding ring. (I don't wear my wedding ring to the gym. I'm afraid it will get scratched or damaged. I also dislike the pinch-feeling of the ring as I'm gripping weights or handles. Chad agrees with me on this.)

I spotted Ex-BF from a distance of about 50 feet at the grocery store that day. I thought, "He's aging well. Good for him." Then I noticed that I wasn't blushing or hyperventilating, and thought, "I'm handling this Ex-BF sighting really well. Good for me." Ex-BF did not spot me in that moment. Awkward situation averted. Yay.

I steered my cart toward the checkout lines. I waited in line for about two minutes with no one in line behind me. I stacked my groceries on the conveyor belt. I had several feminine products, three bottles of Chameleon cold brew coffee, vegan hot dogs, buns, sunflower seeds for the birds/squirrels and many bottles of Topo Chico fizzy water amongst my groceries. I remember thinking how absurd it might be to judge someone based on the products purchased on a random grocery run. Someone got in line behind me. They put cat litter and several giant bottles of cheap wine on the conveyor belt. I sneaked a peek at what I assumed would be an elderly spinster lady. Nope. It was Ex-BF. Dangit! Did he not recognize me? Why would a sane person knowingly get in line behind their Ex? I gave a grimace in his general direction, not making eye-contact. I looked just long enough to see him tilt his head a bit to the side, like a dog does when they are trying to understand your words. Maybe in that second he recognized me, too late to back out of that checkout line. He suddenly became engrossed in his phone. I felt myself blush mightily. I turned and kept my back to Ex-BF. I watched my heartbeat become more and more pronounced under my shirt. As inconspicuously as possible I took a few, quiet, deep breaths to try and calm myself.

I gave my friendliest smile when the checker greeted me. As the checker scanned my items, I pawed through some Snickers bars that said funny things on them in the Snickers font and logo style such as: POUTY, SLEEPY, CRANKY, LOOPY. Yes, I am allergic to peanuts. Yes, Snickers are packed with peanuts. Anything to avoid looking back at Ex-BF behind me. The sweet bagger asked me if I wanted my face powder left out of the grocery bag, and maybe in my purse instead. No thanks! Throw it all in the bag, please. Hurry, please. Thankyouverymuchhaveagooddaybye. When I completed checkout and all my items were bagged, I dared to give the tiniest glance back as I fled for the exit. I saw Ex-BF digging through the Snickers bars with a half-smirk on his face.



I got home and immediately spilled all the details of my Ex-BF sighting to Chad. (Chad works from home, as do all of the employees at his company.) I was still blushing and flustered. Chad laughed with me about it, and kindly asked if I needed a cold compress for my forehead. He gave me a hug.

I'm so glad that Ex-BF behaved like a thoughtless jerk all those years ago. I'm so glad I met Chad at the right time, when I was ready to have a thoughtful, smart, nice, super-handsome boyfriend who respected me. I'm not so glad that Ex-BF got in the checkout line behind me at my favorite grocery store.

I need to find a new favorite grocery store.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Five Cool Treats in Austin

It's not even officially summer yet, but I'm lining up my coping mechanisms for the heat that will pervade summer in Central Texas like a hot, wet blanket. In semi-related confessions: Chad and I fell off the vegan wagon. More on that later. I now self-identify as a strict vegetarian with vegan tendencies. Some, but not all, of the following places are vegan-friendly. All are vegetarian-friendly, of course.

1. Sno.Co Flattop Shaved Ice



This shaved ice trailer parks at the charmingly funky Vortex Theatre complex at 2307 Manor Road. After seeing an Instagram post of the frosty goodness I can't wait to try it!


2. Snow Monster



Chad and I have ventured way north to the Snow Monster location at North Lamar and Braker Lane several times. Snow Monster is totally worth the trek! Snow Monster serves snow ice which is a popular Taiwanese dessert made with fruit extracts and fresh milk. Snow Monster makes a soymilk version also! They offer about a bazillion toppings to personalize your frosty treat.


3. Juiceland



Having some vitamin-deficiency induced guilt? Feeling like you need a healthy cool smoothie? Juiceland can help you with that. They have lots of locations, even outside of Austin, for you to get your fix. Vegan-friendly to the max.


4. Sweet Caroilne's Snow Shack



Sweet Caroline's Snow Shack serves yummy New Orleans-style snowballs. The trailer at 8102 Mesa Drive near Spicewood Springs Road sits conveniently/dangerously near my gym. If I tell you I'm going to my gym, and return with a technicolor tongue, you know what's up. I like the texture of these snowballs.


5. Venezia Italian Gelato


Venezia serves up Italian gelato made by real-live Italian-Americans! I can't wait to try it.
Chad spent his baby and toddler years in Naples, Italy where his dad served as a Navy Pilot. Chad loves gelato and most things Italian. It will be easy to convince him to make the trek down to Venezia Italian Gelato at 1701 South Lamar Boulevard.


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Circus 1903

If you live in Austin, you have one more day to catch Circus 1903 at the Long Center. Chad and I marveled from our front row center seats at this magnificent circus complete with a wise & wise-cracking ringmaster, contortionist, strong man, trapeze artists, high wire act, acrobats, beautiful (puppet) elephants and more. Wow!


Use discount code: ZACH for 25% off!

I don't want to say too much about the show and spoil it. Chad and I both loved it, and we're a tough audience. Circus 1903 delights young and old. If you live in a city other than Austin, check out the official Circus 1903 website for tour dates in other cities by clicking here.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Five Shows I'm Loving on Netflix

These shows are not for kids. I'm an adult. I get to watch shows with adult themes.



1. Lovesick

After discovering he has an STD, a young man decides to reconnect with past relationship partners to deliver the bad news. Sweetness, hilarity and awkwardness ensue. This Netflix original is set in the UK. I love the accents and the scenery.

2. Master of None

I have a strong affection and affinity for the work of Aziz Ansari. This Netflix original revolves around the daily life, love interests and career of a 30-something actor living in New York City. I love that Ansari's real-life parents play his parents on the show. The first two episodes of season two, set in Italy, are gorgeous eye-candy and pay homage to a European aesthetic. Season two, episode six, entitled "New York, I Love You" served a wonderfully warm, moody and slice-of-life realness.

3. Death in Paradise

In this fish out of water story model, a British police detective who hates sand, sun, surf and seafood travels to the Caribbean island of Saint Marie to help solve the murder of a fellow British police detective. He does such a great job solving the mystery, he is rewarded/punished with an extended work assignment on the island. I love the scenery, the chemistry of the cast of characters and the quirky mysteries. I just started season two.

4. Girlboss

This Netflix original is a loose retelling of the rise of Nasty Gal clothier, Sophia Amoruso. Real loose. Set in San Francisco, the eye-candy scenery delights. The vintage clothing also provides a visual party. I love Sophia's spirit, drive and vulnerability. I love the characters that surround her. I'm halfway through the first (and currently only) season, and pacing myself sparingly. I don't binge on good shows with a finite number of episodes.

5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

A resilient woman is rescued after fifteen years in a doomsday cult bunker and makes her new home in New York City. I love the breakneck pace of weirdness and wackiness in this charming show. I love bearing witness to Kimmy's journey to conquer her past tribulations and figure out modern life. I love the charming weirdos that surround Kimmy. I'm halfway though the current/third season. I find past episodes imminently rewatchable. Each episode packs a dense punch of jokes and eccentricities.

What are you watching and loving? Do you watch multiple episodes at once, or pace your viewing pleasure?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bee Better with Bombas Socks

Stop everything and watch this three and a half minute video right now. 


I love Bombas socks. I love the soft fabric, blister-preventing-padding in the right places, durability, arch support, cool designs and color combinations. Oh yeah, and for every pair sold, a pair is donated to a person in need. Chad and I have about thirty pair of Bombas Socks between the two of us. I even sent a bunch to my nieces and nephews for Christmas when Bombas started making kids' sizes. I sent my mom a pair in one of her Mother's Day gift boxes a few years ago. I love these socks. I love the Bombas mission.



This is not a paid promotion. I just love Bombas socks that much. Here's the link:



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Five Faves for the West Austin Studio Tour

Photo of yours truly, taken by Chad

The West Austin Studio Tour runs May 13 & 14 and again May 20 & 21. If you are in the Austin area, you should check out at least five stops on the tour, and report back to me. Chad and I  treated ourselves to a West Austin Studio Tour preview party on Thursday night at one of my favorite former workplaces, the Dougherty Arts Center. Based on that preview and a few friend/former teacher connections, here are my five must-see stops on the tour. Be advised that I like spaces with multiple artists showing their work, versus needing to see the exact studio where one particular artist works.

*Roll over text and click links to see works by each artist mentioned.*

1. Austin Art Space Gallery and Studios
7739 Northcross Drive, Suite Q

The lovely floral artwork of artist Neena Buxani caught my attention. Erin Edwards also tickled my fancy. Bonus points for nine resident artists in one stop.


2. Blue Genie Art Bazaar
6100 Airport Boulevard

Photo I took of Blue Genie entrance at Christmas-time

This is the mothership with over fifty artists in one place! I'm giving myself at least 90 minutes here. Artists' works I'm most excited to see are Rory Skagen, Dana Younger, Eya Claire Ford, Anne Marie Beard, Court Lurie and Mark Puente.


3. Jay Long, Artist Studio
1211 W. 49th Street

Chad and I proudly own two prints by Jay Long. I love the melancholy, earnest mix of sweet, and sometimes slightly menacing, imagery this artist creates.


4. Frederick Douglass 217 Moore
Gather North Lamar, a Vuka Company
5540 North Lamar Boulevard

This artist displayed a ridiculously intricate, miniature city scape carved out of erasers at the preview party. Chad and I were blown away. I can't wait to see more of his work. There are three other artists at this stop also exhibiting work.


5.  Kasey Kilcrease
ZACH Theatre
1510 Toomey Road, Topfer Pavillion

Kasey's art is bright with clean lines and such character. I want to keep looking at each piece. Hush. I'm still looking. Go around me. I'm still looking. There are four other artists at this stop also exhibiting work.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Five (or more) Summer Movies I Want to See

1. My Cousin Rachel 



This looks wonderfully gloomy, suspenseful and a bit dastardly. Perfect for hiding from the blistering hot sun in an overly air-conditioned movie theatre.


2. Megan Leavey



A woman breaking gender molds, serving in the military, with a warrior dog who saves her life. She just wants to be able to adopt the dog at the end of his tour of duty. Let her adopt the dog! Sure to induce a cathartic ugly-cry.


3. Despicable Me 3



When I was a child, other people's parents would tell me how mature I was. Brent McDaniel's mom, Candy, went so far as to say that I must have "popped out of the womb acting like a 35 year old." I'm making up for my misspent (unspent?) childhood. I don't love every kids' movie, but I love the Despicable Me franchise.


4. Baby Driver



Nope. Not about the daycare drop-off. This movie is crime-riddled and dangerous with car chases and double-crossing deeds. Yes, please.


5. Nearly certain to be half of the yet to be announced lineup for the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series



Sometimes I just like the time-tested, greatest hits. Past favorites from the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series include:

All About Eve

Strangers on a Train

Breakfast at Tiffany's

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Casablanca