Somewhere over the last five years, my family has changed. We used to be the kind of people who ate hotdogs and baked beans for dinner and didn’t even know what high fructose corn syrup was. We scoffed at anyone who treated their pets like people and thought those interested in Asian exercise (who weren’t Asian) were weird. Flash forward a few years and it turns out hotdogs and baked beans have too many preservatives (and of course, way too much sodium) and suddenly, all of our meat products (especially chicken) have to be bought organic at places like Trader Joe’s and even Wegman’s sometimes. Our new puppy, Alfie, is horribly spoiled and showed off on cell phones, and cameras set as laptop backdrops and bragged about, as if it is our duty to let all of our family and friends know there’s a new addition to the family. Worst of all, he is the owner of a winter coat and a knitted, olive sweater just in case he gets cold (sweater courtesy of fellow dog lover, Diane Patrick.) Obviously, only positive reinforcement is permitted in training because we don’t want Alfie to get traumatized. In other words, Alfie is currently the center of our worlds and currently everyone’s favorite family member. Of course, my mom and I are signing up for a Tai Chi class in January and Sundays are spent watching independent and foreign movies while knitting, which, I’m told, is currently in vogue among young, hip lady suburbanites and urbanites. When I was a kid, Centreville was just another outlying suburb known for its horse farms and undeveloped lands, but nowadays, the farmers are a thing of the past and you’d be hard pressed to encounter any signficant stretch of undeveloped nature. Times change.
I am currently at Starbucks sipping on a $3 cup of vanilla bean tea (which I got because I thought it was healthier than sweetened coffee, but then said “yes” when the barista asked if I wanted vanilla syrup sweetner) and typing on a keyless laptop while listening to oldies Christmas music. I am surrounded mostly by retired people, housewives and goth teenagers who are probably skipping school because only Starbucks is an appropriate place to wallow in their heavy metal (or punk? What is it these days?) existential angst. As much as I would love to hate places like starkbucks (would love to say I’m turned off by the corporate uniformity; that I only patronize independent coffee shops) I actually love Starbucks because it’s one of the only places in the suburbs where you get a sense of community. Plus, there aren’t exactly tons of independent coffee shops in Centreville. Here, you see familiar faces, the same baristas, almost 100% local patrons, most living within a couple mile radius. The ambience is warm, cozy and thoughtfully laid-out; an all around pleasant place for blogging and getting out of the house.
Things are pretty good right now. Waiting for my boyfriend to arrive, enjoying my mornings off after 20 straight days of working and training at my new job and actually looking forward to Christmas.