Small Business Saturday

Woah, how is it already Thanksgiving!?? Where did the summer go!? And how did my hair get this long? Sheesh. I need to keep better track of time... and get a haircut.

If you're like me and you've suddenly become aware of the dwindling days before the gift-giving gets real, I'd like to take this moment to encourage you to step away from the big box stores. By visiting your local independently owned boutiques and shops, you're helping small business in a big way. And let's be honest, what really says "happy holidays" to your loved ones -- another generic thingamajig purchased from the cavernous aisles of the soulless super stores we've become accustomed to, or the finely crafted, lovingly handmade work of your local artisans? Do your part this holiday season and pledge your support for Small Business Saturday by shopping local!

In honor of Small Business Saturday, here are some new notebooks I just finished, now available for purchase at the adorable little shop Space, here in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, Texas. Happy Holidays!


All the Good Ones are Taken

Since moving to Houston, I have become painfully aware of the crappy public transportation system here. Granted I'm coming from Chicago which, despite all the bitching and moaning I heard about the CTA while I was there, was really quite a fantastic way to get around... especially for someone with a fear of driving. Yeah, okay I admit it. Just the other night I said to Ben, "Hey, I know this is sort of after the fact, but could you please refrain from announcing to total strangers and partygoers that I can't drive and don't have a license? I'm really sensitive about it and it makes me feel like a freak." I didn't mention it then, but it also brought to mind that moment in Clueless when Cher tells Tai that she doesn't think she and Josh "mesh well" and Tai bitterly responds by reminding Cher that she shouldn't be listening to her advice anyway since she's "a virgin who can't drive." Waaaay harsh.

But hey it's a real phobia! And look, this somewhat credibility-lacking article claims that "Fear of driving is probably one of the most common phobias nowadays." Phew (btw, I love that 'probably' in there... you know, just in case it's not at all common and I am, in fact, a freak.)
But anyway this isn't about my fear of driving. It's about a little encounter I had while waiting at the bus stop. Apparently, all you need to do to find a hot date in this city is wait for the #34...

It's a pleasantly cool Houston morning, I'm the only person waiting at the bus stop. I'm going to a fitness class I signed up for and of course, the bus is taking FOREVER to get here. I check my phone, then put it away. I take my phone out again, look at the time, then put it away. I take my phone out, no new messages, put it away. Take out my phone and call the studio to tell them I'm on my way, but might be a couple of minutes late. I'm told this is no problem, as it looks like I'm the only one signed up for the class, so it'll probably be one-on-one. This is both reassuring and a little terrifying. Cars are speeding past (Montrose is a busy street), when I see a shiny red sports car drive past me, slow down just slightly, then turn down the side street to park in the parking lot less than 10 feet behind me. I think nothing of it, then hear someone open a car door and yell...

Dude: Hey, excuse me.
[assuming he's talking to someone else, I make no response]
Dude: [louder] Excuse me?
Me: [turns around] Yes?
Dude: ...You here for breakfast?
{Yeah, I'm waiting at the bus stop for fucking breakfast, what???}
Me: Uh... I'm sorry?
Dude: Are you getting breakfast here? [points to a restaurant across the street]
Me: Ohh, no. [turns back around]
Dude: ...Have you had breakfast?
Me: [turns around] Yep.
Dude: You already had breakfast?
Me: Yes, I already had breakfast.
Dude: Okay okay, I don't want to make you uncomfortable.
Me: No, it's cool, I've just already had breakfast.
Dude: So, you heading to work?
Me: Nope.
Dude: ...Going to class?
Me: [hesitates, nods head]
Dude: You a student?
Me: [sigh] Nooo.
Dude: .......Going to a yoga class?
{The truth is, I'm going to a 'chair dancing' class at a pole dancing studio, but I somehow rethink the need to be 100% honest in favor of saving myself from an increasingly awkward conversation about sensual dance.}
Me: Yeah.
Dude: Yeah? I've been wanting to take a yoga class, or pilates or something.
Me: Yeah? You should, it's fun.
Dude: Yeah, but I just don't have the time for it. I work a lot, I'm in the oil industry, and I travel quite a bit for work, so it's hard to sign up for classes.
Me: Yeah. You could do it at home, like rent videos? Or do you have Netflix?
Dude: Nahhh, plus I really need the instruction [chuckles]. I mean, if I don't even know what leg goes where, I don't think I could handle video instruction.
Me: Ha ha, yeahhh [nods]. Hmm.
Dude: So is the class far? How'd you hear about it?
Me: Uh, it's up on like, Dallas? I don't know, I think I yelped it.
Dude: How long you been going there?
Me: Not that long, I actually just moved here.
Dude: Oh yeah?! Where from?
Me: Chicago.
Dude: Oh wow, I love Chicago. I've been there a bunch for work.
Me: Yeah it's great, I really miss it.
Dude: I've never spent more than a couple days there, but it seems cool.
Me: Oh yeah, there's always a lot going on, and it's really easy to get around there, especially without a car. Definitely miss that.
Dude: Oh yeah, man. You kind of need a car here. The bus sucks.
Me: [raises eyebrows and nods, knowingly]
Dude: I went to that one hotel, the one that's like, right on that main stretch along the lake. It's been there since the 1800s or something, it's really old...
Me: Uh, I don't know... It's on Michigan?
Dude: Yeah, it's along the lake... oh! The Drake?
Me: Oh, yeah The Drake.
Dude: Yeah, I went there, sat at the bar, had a drink in one hand, felt all classy. It was cool. The waiter told me I needed to get me one of those suits hanging in the window. And I was like, 'yeah man, you mean one of those five thousand dollar suits' ha haaa. Man.
Me: Ha, yeahhhh.
Dude: But man, it gets cold there!
Me: [nods] Very true, very true.
Dude: Well Chicago. Chicago, that's cool. How long you been here, you like it?
Me: About two months. It's... okay [laughs].
Dude: You move here alone?
Me: Nope, I'm married.
Dude: Maaaan! All the good ones are taken [chuckles and shakes head]. Wow. Well, I was wondrin'.
Me: Yeahhh, sorry.
Dude: Well, you can't blame me for trying, you're very attractive.
Me: [cringing, shakes head and looks down] Ehhh, thank you.
Dude: You can not blame me for tryin'.
Me: [shakes head] I don't blame you for trying.
Dude: So you guys move here for work?
Me: Yeah, for my husband's job.
Dude: Man, married [shakes his head again]. Well, that's cool. So I don't suppose I can ask you for your number?
Me: [cringing again, shakes head] Ehh, I'm sorry. I just... I don't think he'd appreciate that very much.
Dude: So I can't hook up with you, you got any friends I can hook up with?
Me: Not really, I mean I just moved here, I don't really know anyone, sorry.
Dude: You sure I can't take you to breakfast? I mean, just to have some female company would be nice.
Me: [feeling sort of sorry] Thank you, I really can't.
Dude: Well, I had to try, I had to try. [extends his hand] I'm Ken, by the way.
Me: [shakes his hand] Allison.
Dude: It's nice to meet you. [steps back] Sooo... you're like... 21? [staring hard]
Me: Ha ha ha ha ha, [shakes head] no.
Dude: Not 21? ...Older than 21 [raises eyebrows]?
Me: Yes, older. I'm 27.
Dude: [shakes head] You don't look 27.
Me: Hmm, thank you?
Dude: Well, I am a LOT older than you.
Me: Oh yeah?
Dude: Yeah.
Me: Like... 35 maybe?
Dude: [chuckles, grins] Bless your heart. I knew I liked you [chuckles]. I'm 43.
Me: No waaay.
Dude: [gets out his drivers license and passes it to me]
Me: [quickly glances at the card] Huh. You don't lie.
{after about 10 minutes of this awkward small talk, some of which involving his work and his sisters and a random story about receiving a dental cleaning down in Mexico, my bus finally pulls up}
Dude: Well, it's nice to meet you... You suuuure I can't get your number???
Me: Ha ha, I'm sure. It was nice to meet you.
Dude: Maybe I'll see you around here again?
Me: Maybe, you never know. It was nice talking to you. [gets on the bus]
Dude: It was nice talking to you, too. Take care, Allison.
[The doors to the bus close and I turn around to see the female bus driver giving me a knowing smirk. Yep, I turned down a free breakfast.]