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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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inspiration

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. 

I’ll begin by reminding you, my dear reader, that I stopped drinking coffee in 2008. (See the story about the drums here.) This doesn’t mean that I don’t long for it like I long for the key to our villa. In fact, I miss that warmth and aroma like crazy. I’ve been guilty of sitting next to someone sipping coffee and entertaining images of taking it from them. Without asking. Anyway. Despite all of that, I’m still slightly frightened of that drumming. And don’t say just drink decaf. We won’t remain friends.

Enter Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Have you seen this online series from Jerry Seinfeld? The premise is everything the title suggests: Seinfeld picks up a comedian in a snazzy classic car, takes them to a coffee shop, and engages in the most intriguing (and often hilarious; they are comedians, after all) conversations with them. It’s wonderful. My sissy turned me on to the show when it came out, and don’t tell her this (the statistics of the older sister being right about everything need to remain undisturbed) but she nailed it. It was right up my alley. Comedians, cars, coffee, conversation. Cawesome. (New word.) What gets me, though, what infinitely thrills me about the show, are the scenes in the coffee shops. Not of the celebrities, but of the coffee. The images of that smooth liquid descending from the machines, of the coffee beans bursting in their bags, of that everlasting steam rising from the mugs. Add to all of those sweet images a whimsical, often jazzy soundtrack, and I’m on coffee cloud 9.

Ever since my stint at this lovely place, coffee shops have been the center of my world. (The books and coffee combination made it extra heavenly.) The café in this place embodied the café in every place: whispered conversations, folks tapping away at unfinished novels on their keyboards, the soft whir of espresso machines. It’s the dreamworld of creatives, people watchers, quiet types, anyone, really. The show makes me want to return to those days when I frequented them regularly. And this is my intention. At least one Saturday afternoon ensconced in a cozy nook at a local coffee shop is doable, no? And so it shall be.

So: watch CICGC, grab a cup, and forgive me in advance for watching you sip. 

Are you a coffee and coffee shop lover? Tell me all about it.

breathe deeply.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Why I walk through the stacks and inhale. 

Why I meander through libraries and bookstores, often with no intention of reading or buying, just trailing my fingers down endless rows of spines and consuming the sweet aroma of books. 

Why books can be desserts, too.

(I dedicate this post to my beloved Ms. Lindquist, who let me escape the battleground of recess (when you’re shy and slow and new to the area, recess becomes a battleground) by letting me make a home in the library while the other kids played. In there, I discovered stories about girls like me, about faraway places, about adventures and pesky little sisters, and everything in between. Ms. L., You opened up my world.)

try: Artists Series #1

If you’re an artist (writing, painting, singing, sculpting, dance, figuring out Math equations which, to me, is a true art form), perhaps, like me, your main medium is often influenced by another art form. For example, if you draw, you may love dance as a source of inspiration. As a writer, I find myself inspired by a long list of other art forms, most of them visual: the performing arts, fine arts, etc. I can look at a painting and fly off the artistic rails, so to speak, my creative drive climbing to giddy levels. (Or not. I haven’t written creatively in a while, save for this blog. And it’s why I have this blog. More on that later.) Anyway, the latter thesis statement is an introduction to a new feature here at TSP. Quite simply, I’ll be sharing things that inspire me. From paintings to photography to dance routines to music, I’d love to feature the works that have moved/inspired me in the past and in the now. You like? Cool, huh? First up: a music video.

I will say that music videos stopped being relevant to me when people started throwing dollar bills in the air and all the flashing lights took away from the wonder of the medium. I mean, come on. My first music video experience was watching a skinny guy in high-water leather pants stepping on a ground that lit up as he walked. Who or what could compare after that? (He also solved a potential gang war and walked on the moon. You know who I’m talking about.) These days, the videos I tend to watch are on YouTube and are of artists that I personally enjoy.

Several years ago, I discovered a music video called “Try” by Nelly Furtado. You guys. The video is just rich with story. I relate to story. No surprise there. When I first watched it, I was writing in my mind. It was that compelling. And when you combine Nelly’s lyrics to the visuals (that plaintive we are we are we are in love near the end of the song/video and the images that match continue to take my breath away), it’s hands down one of my favorite things to watch. And why am I drawn to it so significantly? Ultimately, the video reminds me of the primary topic I revisit time and again in my fiction, in my poetry, what I’m drawn to in life: the emotional connection between people. Whether that connection is strong or fraying, it’s the topic what I ultimately go back to.

Enjoy. In the comments, tell me whatever you like: if you enjoyed Nelly’s video, what inspires you, whether you also swooned when that skinny guy lit up every surface he touched. 

Odes.

soulplaceAs the days dwindle down and my time in this metropolitan area rapidly passes me by (funny how time never flew when I had no plans to leave; a.k.a., life), I was reflecting on a few things that I will actually miss about living/working in this area. (Positivity, right?) Walk with me.

Somewheres, VA, where I live, is about 10 minutes from the nation’s capital. This means museums, theaters, strolling among the monuments, fun events–all just a subway ride or quick drive away. Pretty awesome. I’m sure TX will have its fair share of all the above, but there was something too cool about hanging out with Abe Lincoln at night.

Speaking of subway rides… Apart from my growing list of complaints about the subway system in this city (who built it? Me? If so, I clearly have no mechanical skills), it also gave me one giant, important thing during my daily commute to work: the chance to have my voyeur status refreshed every single day. People watching, at level 100, for seven and a half years. Fiction and poems were born and abounded as the train hurtled us to our various destinations (I’m actually presently writing a short story inspired by something I observed this very morning), and I’m pretty thankful for that.

By and large, despite how life seems to whizz by in this area, I’m appreciative of the laid back vibe I generally noticed about the people around me. Unlike, say, New York City, where the nonchalant nature of the residents hardly diminished the intensity I frequently saw in their eyes, the people in the Washington DC area largely had a chill-ness about them that was quite nice. Intensity can be great (necessary when professing love for Idris and Lupita, for example), but the African blood that runs through these veins just can’t deny a quiet, laid back kind of life or person.

My job. So much to say. So much to say. Another post will come about my adventures at the OK Corral; longer, more detailed, stained with my tears. For now, I will choose brevity and again, positivity (ouch, it hurts): I work at an institution where taking time off is generally not a problem, where I’ve connected with some great people, where lunch breaks can spill over the hour and you’re ok, where coffee breaks are encouraged, where diversity blooms and flourishes. Those parts have been pretty great. I’ll stop here. No, one more thought: to have steady employment, to have insurance benefits, to financially take care of oneself–for all those things, being at the OK Corral was a blessing. There. Whew.

As mentioned, a few things I wanted to share. I’ll miss all the people in my life far more than monuments and subway seats, of course, but you knew that, didn’t you?

Bon Wednesday, dear readers…

Pinspirations.

Hi, there.

So I went to Pinterest a few weeks ago to get some ideas for my next protective style. As you know, I’ve been protective styling it more often than not, ever since my crochets in February. After deciding that I wanted some cornrows, I eventually descended into the sweet Pinterest rabbit hole, where you dig deeper and deeper into photos and inspiration until voilà and Eureka, you find it. And I found it. These two ‘dos caught my eye:

Basically, cornrows are braided on the sides and then fed into the braiding style in the middle. A braidhawk, if you will. Well, my eyes got really, really big and starry and I decided that I’d go this way next. After making an appointment with a braider that my mom likes to go to (not only is she super affordable but she provides the hair, which keeps me from getting lost in the rabbit hole of hair stores), I got my ‘do done this past Thursday. Here it is, dear reader:

style4style3style2style1

Needless to say, I love it almost as much as sliced bread. (I remain bread’s humble servant, so…) She did exactly what I wanted and I adore the look. I chose to have Senegalese twists in the middle, by the way. Also, I said nothing specific about length and she kept right on braiding, so the braids currently reach my derrière. I would post a standing shot so you can see the full length, but my pants were a bit too loose that morning (it was early, ok?), and you don’t need to see all of that. Anywho, trust me when I say that I’m basically sitting on them. Something certainly new for This Square Peg: I tend to get my braids mid-back and safe, not too attention grabbing, especially with working in the corporate world. But yay for changes and not worrying about all of that.

Here’s to Pinspirations and rabbit holes and women with the power to do amazing things for our hair.

Pinterest Poses.

I pinned myself last night on Pinterest. I’ve pinned myself several times before, but this is the first time I’m blogging about it. Anywho, why does one pin themselves? I’ll tell you why I did it. I was quite in love with my hair last night (this whole weekend, actually) and I wanted to share it. Perhaps another naturalista on a Pinterest search for hairstyle ideas might see my kinks and coils and find some inspiration. After all, that’s why I go on Pinterest. So each one, teach one. Share the wealth. Pay it forward. Insert motivational cliché here. Here’s what I pinned:

hair13

As you can see, my kinky twists are gone and she’s back. She’s back and she’s thicker and a bit longer and she’s temperamental and she’s throwing a few more gray strands at me (see the smoother side of my hair in the photo for evidence) and she’s actually being obedient when I try updos and side hawks like what you see above and she’s in full effect and I’m happy to have her. I plan on letting her breathe through most of the summer before my next protective style. Or not. We’ll see.

For now, there may or may not be more Pinterest posing.

(The link is on my Contact page, but follow me here on Pinterest if you like…)

Happy Monday. Hope your weekend was bon and fantastic.

Meanwhile, in Paris…

Parisienne4
Image courtesy of Pinterest, which was courtesy of Vicki Archer, who I am now following on Pinterest..

I think this Parisienne embodies my future life in the City of Lights. In every way you can think of.

Bursting with a thousand words, and I agree with every letter.

Happy Friday, and bon weekend, mes amis.

where to next?

After my traveling whirlwind within the past few months (London and Germany and Paris, oh my…and Luxembourg, too), it’s certainly a popular question I get from friends and family: where to next? Below are some of the places on my list to visit hopefully sooner than later, depending on how things play out in the neat future. All images are courtesy of Pinterest, and there’s no real order of importance, being that I salivate and dream about these locales equally.

You guys, I’ve been dreaming about Havana, Cuba, for the longest. In fact, when I think of Havana, I frequently entertain an recurring image. I am being driven through the streets of Old Havana in the backseat of one of the classic cars shown above, clad in a flowery red dress with a matching flower in my fro. Next to me is an unknown gentleman dressed in an old-fashioned suit from the Desi Arnaz collection. We bow our heads and listen as breezy, intoxicating music roams about the atmosphere. Right?? Oh la la. Anyway, now that travel restrictions between the US and Cuba have significantly loosened, I’m hoping that I’ll see myself walking down those old streets soon. And definitely with a flower in my fro.

Oh, Santorini. I’ve mentioned this delectable (yes, it’s so lovely that it’s edible) Greek island before. (Here and here.) I simply want to go to there. Those shades of blue need to be mine. We can even get my unknown Mister out of that Desi suit and into some white linen. I need those views, that water, strolls to the marketplace. I’ll stop here before this drool resumes.

Amalfi Coast/Positano, Italy. Notably, a bunch of my good friends are perplexed that I haven’t yet made my way to Italy. I’ll be honest: when I was a teenager, Italy was everything after Paris. I wanted to see Rome, I wanted to see all the dark hair and olive skin, I wanted to at least pose next to a pink Vespa. And with my enduring love of A Room with a View, you’d think I would have hightailed it over there already. Alas, no. Why? Let me tell you: I lost my love for Italy. Don’t ask me how. One day, I kind of grew bored with the idea of Rome and Tuscany. But then Pinterest came along and pinners with their photos of Amalfi and Positano and my eyes grew wide again and…you get my drift. In love again. Sure, I want to see the big cities. But it’s these lovely areas, the Amalfi Coast and Positano, a village located on the coast, that really call out to me. See that car on the far right there? Just imagine my unknown Mister behind the wheel, me next to him as we slowly drive down the coast, a scarf and his arm around my shoulders, his linen suit replaced with a crisp white shirt and slacks…

Le sigh. Remove the unknown Mister and I still have definite plans to visit these places. And there are more, mind you. The Netherlands, Morocco, South Africa, Japan. We’ll get to them eventually. There’s no expiration date on wanderlust, is there?

Are you a traveler? Tell me where you’re headed next or where you’d love to go.

Romper Room.

So I stopped wearing shorts sometime around the late 90s/early 2000s. There was no real reason. I recall looking at myself in the mirror one day and deciding that I was no longer in PE class. Therefore: no more shorts. (Deep down, though, summertime and the meeting of thighs…you get my drift, lady out there.) Anyway, fast forward to today, or rather, a few months ago: I received a romper as part of my recent swap party haul. And I was actually pretty excited. To me, rompers combine the best of both worlds: that classy jumpsuit look/feeling that I’ve grown to love, and a fun, lighthearted style that I personally think embodies summertime. It looks like that 16 year-ban will be ending this summer.

Since I didn’t get a chance to snap some photos of my new romper, here are some Pinterest-captured views of the kind of romper ensembles that delight my eye. In other words, I like styles that aren’t too short and can be dressed up or slightly dressed down.

That far left one with the shoes and the bag and the hat…giving me so much life.

Needless to say, when I finally wake up and the weather isn’t manifesting its bipolar ways–i.e., legitimate summertime–I’ll definitely put on my new romper and provide the pictorials just for you.

Tell me: are you a romper lady? Why or why not?

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