Blogtober #26: The Heat is On.

That’s right, folks. The high in Texas today was in the mid-40s. Which means that yours truly turned on her heater. Hilarious. Anyway, it feels very autumnal around here and I love it. Note the temps for the rest of the week below.

Note the sad face for the upcoming rainy days. Not into rainy days.

What’s the weather where you are?

Magnolia Marvel.

The Silos. (All images shown in this post are mine.)

If you’ll follow the link here, you’ll see that visiting Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos was a definite destination goal of mine. Well, a million years later, a good friend and I made the nearly 2-hour trek to Waco, TX earlier this week. Needless to say, we had a fantastic time.

As soon as we arrived, we saw the line to head into the Bakery. This was fine. Popularity breeds lines. We came with our patience intact. And quite honestly, after parking (you can park for free if you’re visiting the Silos, but since these areas were packed, we headed a bit further down and found a space), we took our time and explored the area while walking toward the Bakery. The rustic charm around us didn’t disappoint.

Once we got to the main area, we snapped some pics and just took in the people, sights, and asked a few questions of the folks working in the area. Then we got right in line for that bakery. (Naturally.) While waiting, a staff member came by with pencils and menus to complete. You choose the baked goods you want to buy; by the time you get inside, a cashier takes the form and fills your order. Pretty seamless, Chip and Joanna. I’m a lover of organization and ingenuity amid a bit of chaos.

After the bakery, we walked around a bit more and decided against getting into another line for the seed store. Especially because I saw a line for a trolley tour and I wanted all parts of that trolley tour. (Trolleys while traveling: an excellent way to learn about a new place and ride all at the same time. I recommend a trolley wherever you go. My favorite trolley tours have been in San Diego, CA, Newport, RI, and basically wherever I’ve been that has one available.)

We learned interesting tidbits about Waco during the tour, for sure. We also learned that reservations are key if you want a table at Magnolia Table, the Gaines’ restaurant. Note to self for the next time. Thankfully, there was a food truck extravaganza right there by the silos so we definitely made use of those amenities. Delish.

We had a marvelous time.

It’s been rough with my job and not having a ton of vacation time to travel. Nevertheless, after three years here in the Lone Star State, I’m still very much a tourist. Taking advantage of the local color was splendid, and I intend on doing more of that.

What are some of your favorite local travel spots?

procrastination nation.

round wall clock
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

Dear Reader,

I’ll be moving soon. Still staying in Texas, but moving to a different city. After two years in my apartment complex, it was time for a change. After searching and perusing, I found a lovely new area that I’ll share more about in a forthcoming post. But before one moves, one must pack.

And…yeah.

Read this if you need a reminder about how I feel about packing, especially when it comes to moving.

At the end of this month, I need to be ready to go. Ask me if I’ve done single thing to prepare for this timeline. Go ahead, ask me. Did you? Good. The crickets you hear are your answer.

I’m reminded of when I was in college. Knee-deep in essays and homework and my on-campus job and my off-campus job. When there was a deadline for a paper, I would write that thing at 2 in the morning the day it was due. Typing furiously on the computer in our basement at some ungodly hour. And I would, nine times out of ten, score high. Naturally, I started to believe that my waiting until the last minute to complete my homework was the key to my excelling; the last minute fear and adrenaline was somehow resulting in amazing theses statements and sentences. It had to. (What can I say? Youth.) Anyway, procrastination became a bit of a crutch. My younger brain theorized that waiting until the last minute met success.

Enter adulting. I do my best to get things done on time. Emphasis on my best. No worries: I pay my bills on time. But when it comes to a project at work that has a loose deadline…

Were we talking about packing?

I haven’t packed. Haven’t moved a thing. Empty boxes and crates crowd my living room, waiting to be used, calling out to me. We have 18 days…

18 days…

Monday Allergies and Bons Weekends.

I’m seriously considering seeking out an allergist. I can’t handle the first day of the week, y’all. Like I seriously cannot. I fidget. I have mental hives. I nearly itch. I literally lay in bed and rally against waking up, as if Monday is standing beside my bed with her arms crossed and an annoyed, impatient expression on her face. Ugh.

The weekend was fabulous, my friends. On Friday (which I claim as a weekend day), I joined some of my mom friends for a trip with their tween/teen daughters to Deep Ellum, an artsy, delightful area in downtown Dallas. It was my first time there, still being on tourist status after a year and five months, and I loved it something awful. There was a rustic flair everywhere; lovely murals; great venues and restaurants. My artistic heart was booming quite happily. Pictorials below, y’all.

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Friday evening was warm and lovely. On Saturday, Texas displayed its crazy weather and drowned us in thunderstorms and rain. So I hung out on my couch that evening and watched a bit of telly and tooled around on the iPad.

On Sunday, me and a friend decided to check out the Dallas Jazz Age Sunday Social after brunch. They had me at jazz age. Folks were dressed up in their flappery best; even the menfolk got into it, giving it their Robert Redford The Great Gastby best. There was music playing; classic cars driving down the avenues (I love classic cars from bygone eras), museums showing doctor’s offices and general stores from that time. So much fun! Really spoke to my vintage everything heart, and it was a great addition to seeing the local color/being a tourist in my own backyard initiative. See photos below.

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Fun and laughter were had. (Can I mention that I’ve been really enjoying taking pictures lately? Not of myself–although, hey, it’s a thing I enjoy–but of objects and nature and other people. We’ll chat about this growing love later this week.)

How was your weekend, my little cabbage? 

storm warning.

Last night, it rained. Hard.

Let me tell about the rain in Texas (rather than the rain in Spain; you’re welcome). When I first moved here a whopping seven months ago–time truly flies–my friends hardly spoke about the heat. The heat didn’t require discussion. I knew that the sun would be vengeful, punishing me for something I’m not sure I did. No, dear reader, I was informed about the rain. Because it doesn’t just rain here. It monsoons. Deluges. Floods. Cats, dogs, and cows fall

flood
Oh, hey, Nessie.

from the sky. High winds. Rain descending sideways instead of downwards, which indicates to me that this ain’t a game. Thunder. Lightning. Hail the size of my massive head. When I initially moved here, I once arrived at my former residence and watched, wide-eyed, as the sky turned to a shade of inkwell black. As I scrambled to get out of the car before I was drenched and/or transported to Oz, I realized that perhaps for the first time in my life, I was filled with pure, meteorologically-based fear. (Sure, living in Anywhere, VA had its insane moments. Snow, rain, all of that. But having lived in that area most of life, I was used to it.) And rarely did we receive tornado, get-in-the-bathtub warnings like we do here. As I reached behind me to grab my ineffectual umbrella, I moved with the kind of panic you reserve for dark evenings when someone is walking behind you or when you share an elevator with just another person. (Is it just me? I cannot function when there’s just two of us in an elevator. I simply cannot.) It was terrifying. When I finally made it to the covered porch, a few droplets already falling on head, I turned around right on time as the heavens began to weep. It was incredible.

Oh, and this isn’t the kind of relaxing rain that lulls you to sleep. Rather, I was pulled out of my sleep and driven towards the window, where I peeked through the blinds and watched the sideways storm batter the ground and the cars in the parking lot. A few nights ago, hail accompanied the storm that came.. Ever hear a million rocks thrashing against your window as if they’re mad and not going to take this anymore? This time, however, there was no hail. Just angry water propelled by unremitting winds. When I finally headed back to bed, I lay there, wishing it was over. No such thing. It was determined to screech and ruin the dreams I could no longer remember. (No, Leonard hasn’t returned.) Thankfully, a fitful sleep eventually came over me and I was able to escape the noise. In the morning, the only evidence of the storm were the leaves that decorated the surfaces of my car. If only cars could talk. (“Darling, what was that?” Imagine the scratchy, accented voice of Idris posing that bewildered question, because my car shares his name. This ain’t a game.)

So how do we make amends with this weather fear? One of the many reasons I moved here was to avoid the snow and ice of the Northern VA area, which also came with the kind of cold air that bypassed coats and scarves and headed for pure bone. I’d rather be hot than cold. Hot means I can find a Starbucks and escape the heat outside. Cold means frozen tears just because I can never get warm. And since I’ll be here for the foreseeable future, what do we do?

We find a better umbrella, stay inside, and avoid Oz at all costs.

Does it rain a lot where you are? Do you hide like me or do you laugh in the face of weather-related fears (unlike me)?

it’s morning…

Curious about how This Square Peg energizes for the day? *Or whether she actually gets energized for the day? Read about my morning routine below…wakeup

  1. My alarm is set for 6AM. I turn it off and then sleep until 630AM. It is what it is.
  2. After the usual morning things, I hop into a scalding hot shower (I don’t know about you, but there’s something about almost third-degree burn water temperature that just wakes me up) and, based of having shared a bathroom with all of my siblings for several years, am out of there less than 6 minutes later.
  3. Applying lotion and/or oil is the highlight after a scalding hot shower. It fills the room with lovely scents and aromas.
  4. I quickly brush my teeth and then wash my face. Because I intentionally woke up 30 minutes late and am now rushing.
  5. Nine times out of ten, I plan my outfits the night before. So after the skincare/beauty regiment ends, I head to the closet and quickly get dressed.
  6. If I don’t have a protective style, I quickly take out my twists and/or puff the hair. (Sometimes I do this while “sitting”, if you get my drift, particularly when I have twists in.) If I do have a protective style (yes, please, because it takes forever to take out twists and style), I just fluff and it’s done.
  7. I head to the kitchen and make a sandwich for lunch. Like a 10 year-old, I prefer peanut butter on wheat bread, no jelly.
  8. I’m out the door after determining, via my heavily used weather app, if I need a scarf or light coat or heavy coat for the bipolar Texas weather.
  9. Drive to work.
  10. If I feel like it, I quickly put on makeup at stoplights. So if you’re behind me, I apologize, but this Ruby Woo needs to go on these lips and I didn’t have time to do that at home.

As you can see, quick, easy, we’re done. What’s your morning routine? I’d like details. The comment box can handle it.

*I don’t get energized until 9pm. So there you go.

P.S.: are you wondering if I eat breakfast? I do. TSP’s belly won’t stand for all of that. I tend to grab breakfast at my job or roll by Starbucks on the way into the office, if I have time…which I most likely don’t. And if you’re also wondering if I actually get into the office on time? I actually do. The wonders of only working 10 minutes from home.

Blogvember #29: The Baby Steps Gourmet.

Cooking is an art form. And in a world of cuisine Van Goghs, I’m best described as the lady with tracing paper who would love to just copy the art without doing all the work. When I was 15, my mother devised a plan: she, my sister and I would take turns cooking. She showed us how to do the basics, some recipes along the way, that sort of thing. I grumbled about it, of course, because what teenager doesn’t grumble? It’s in the teen DNA. But it was actually pretty awesome. I gained skills and became quite confident using them. Eventually, I could whip up a stew or Jollof rice in no time. When I moved out at 24, feeding myself was doable. I could cook my own food.

And then I moved back home.

There’s something about your mother’s cooking that makes your attempts laughable and inedible. And undesirable to yourself. Back home, I would whine to my mother that, rather than me cooking dinner for the family at the stove, she could do it much better. Her eye rolling in my direction was massive. But not doing it regularly like I had in the past wore away at my cooking confidence. When it was time to get to the stove (because all that mid-30s whining wasn’t cutting it with Mother), I found that I forgot simple steps or didn’t move with the confidence I had in the past. So I ultimately decided that I would move to TX and live once again on my own, what shocked me the most was that I actually looked forward to getting back to cooking for myself.

Don’t tell anyone.

Anyway, these days, I cook here and there. Working full-time and engaging in life and worship and new friends and new areas leaves little time to actually devote to homemade cuisine. But I’m working at it. Cooking at home is a money saver, can help me experiment, and at the end of the day, it just feels good to create my own meals.

Don’t tell anyone.

Last night, I decided to recreate my favorite (it deserves italics: favorite) Ghanaian meal: fried plantains and bean stew. Or red-red. Previously, when I tried to fry plantains years

redred
This isn’t my red-red. I ate it too fast to take a picture.

and years ago, I almost burned my mother’s house down. This time, I plowed ahead with my plans to make this pretty easy meal, fears of burning down my apartment building pushed aside and ignored. I pulled out the deep fryer and got to work. I also cooked a stew comprised of black-eyed peas and other yummy things. Back to the italics: it was delicious. I mean: I wanted to lick my fork. Maybe I did. But the very best part, the most awesome, was the phone call to my mom later that evening to announce that I successfully pulled off a meal that, to date, only she has been able to prepare to my liking. (And a Ghanaian restaurant that I was obsessed with frequented back in our area.) I could hear the happiness in her voice. “I guess you’re really growing up,” she also said. We laughed. Because I’ll always be 9 years old where she’s concerned, and I don’t mind one bit. Nevertheless, it was nice to see that all my silly fears (well, only one fear: it’ll taste like dirt) about cooking are just that: silly fears.

Just call me the Baby Steps Gourmet. But I’m still bringing utensils and paper goods to every event I’m invited to, so don’t get too crazy.

Blogvember #20 and #21: Late Edition.

I didn’t forget about you. But Sunday got away from me on account of…

…the delivery of my new couch! Isn’t it lovely? Head on to Blogvember #21 below to discuss the new love of my life.

******************************

Ok, so “Late Edition” has a double meaning. First, my apologies for not Blogvembering yesterday and providing a late posting for #20. 

Second, I learned just how comfortable my new couch was when I woke up this morning around 1AM and realized that I was, not in my bed, but all wrapped in a blanket on my new sofa. So in a way, I woke up late. You get it. We made it work. Anyway, yes: in love. Let’s break down why.

  1. I love the color. I wanted a charcoal/gray look and that’s what I found.
  2. The price didn’t cause cardiac arrest. And I got a discount! 
  3. As stated above, it’s certainly a comfortable one. Aside from the post-sleep disorientation of realizing that I wasn’t in my bedroom at 1AM (aliens?), it was nice to know that my new pal had already made itself welcome in my home.

Yay…

Onwards and couchwards, dear reader. 

Blogvember #18: About your Author. (Friday Taunts)

Been a while since you resurrected this feature, huh?
Well, I wanted to give you a break since you’re always so pleased when we do it.

By now, though: don’t your readers enough about you?
Nah, we haven’t even touched the tip of that iceberg.

Fine, fine. What’s going on with you? Are you eating tons of beef and wearing cowboy hats yet?
Perish the thought. I’ve yet to even see a cowboy hat.

Really?
A lot of people are transplants like me. And the natives I’ve met seem quite content to go hatless.

Interesting. What else is new? You still eating like it’s going out of style?
That was way harsh, Tai.

Sorry. But remember that you’ve accessed the meaner part of your personality when we have these silly conversations. You basically asked for it.
True.

Anyway, how is your eating and exercising and all that?
Much better. I’ve resumed my regular fitness schedule, left all the donut shops behind—we’re doing well.

Good. What else is new, pussycat?
You’re effective at pretending like you actually care.

I learned from the best.
Nothing else is new. My fro is handling the new environment better than I expected.

Oh, yeah?
Indeed. You know how temperamental she is. But I’ve been really moisturizing and babying her, so we’ll see. Next year will be a full-fledged summer here so she may implode.

Perhaps a protective style, then?
Look at you, giving advice!

I read enough about this stuff on here; might as well join in. Speaking of cowboys—
We were not discussing cowboys.

We talked about their hats, so yes, we were discussing them. Have you met anyone yet? You know…wink, wink…
Oh, Lord.

What? We’re all thinking it.
No, I haven’t.

No one?
No one. Unless Idris has decided to start dressing like John Wayne.

Oh, Lord.
Now you know what it feels like.

Switching reels: are you writing?
I am! Finishing up stories and starting new ones. All at the same time, of course, because this is how I do.

When is the third book coming?
I’m really shooting for early 2017.

Yeah?
Yeah.

Care to wager on that?
That’s my cue.

Come back! I want to taunt you!