Pre-Happy New Year! It’s the end of 2017, and before we hop on a plane to begin our foodie adventures in Europe (follow me on Instagram for frequent moments of food envy), I wanted to share my last DFW restaurant meal of 2017 — Beto […]
So, I’m late to the game — Meso Maya has been around for a while now. I’ve driven past and even called to ask a few questions about the menu. And, honestly, based on its early reviews and the lackluster love received over the years, […]
I’ve been on blogger vacation (aka too dang busy to post to the blog).
Recently, I picked up a project that has been fantastically challenging, incredibly fulfilling, and friggin’ back-breaking.
I love it.
However, making #betterchoices has been a bit of a challenge — both food and life choices.
I’m happy to report I have not gone completely off track with the food. No weight gained — two more lost. (But, that may or may not have been due to my living off coffee and Cheez-It crackers for at least a few days out of the three weeks.) No major disasters though.
Life choices have also been tough.
Calculating time. Figuring out how to balance — especially in the midst of unexpected events. Grandma Ollie happened to have a hospital stay — all is well now. Our place had some issues. Bear’s schedule has also been nuts. Life has just been a little trying.
And, today, I got a huge dose of “ah-ha” by way of my nephew.
At noon, my brother called to invite me to eat lunch with the family. I was ear deep in work. (I’d live-streamed church earlier. Okay? THAT kind of caught up in work.) Completely misaligned and already in a “gotta get it done” rhythm.
At first, I was kind of irritated because I’d already communicated how busy I would be today. Then, he offered to bring me food. I hesitantly agreed — until he decided he and my nephew would pick up food and come eat with me.
I had two laptops up, papers blanketing the tables — not possible. I already knew I was leaving later to visit Grandma. Ain’t nobody got time for this! (I know. I’m a horrible person — I promise it gets better.) So, with one of my oldie-but-goodie classic teenager-y sighs, I huffed out a, “Fine. I’ll hurry up and get ready and meet you there. But, I have to hurry back!”
Rushed a shower. Slicked the hair back in a bun. Cat screaming at me to hurry up (even she knew I had a poor attitude). Finally, I get in the car and head over to Rock Fish in Plano.
In I walk. And, I’m greeted with a giant, Kermit the Frog-like, frantically happy wave from the back of the restaurant.
It’s my nephew.
He stands up, gives me a big squeeze, pulls out my chair, and immediately begins to fill me in.
He’s ordered my tea. He’s going to have catfish. Do I need any sweetener? His daddy (my brother) is drinking Dr. Pepper. And, French fries and applesauce will be eaten today.
Immediately, my hard candy shell begins to crack. He’s going full-speed, and like or not, I just have to catch up!
We have an awesome meal — Ahi Tower — perfect. Service spectacular.
And, then my brother, knowing I was on my way to see Grandma, tells my nephew he should go with me to see his Neny (the name my nephew calls Grandma Ollie).
Immediately, the tides change.
“Why!? I thought we were going to go to the comic book store first!?”
Knowing this kid and how much he loves his Neny and spending time with her, I said, “Hey? What’s going on here? What’s more important? People or things?”
After a few patient rounds, we got to a place where we were talking about finding balance and the importance of spending time with the people we love. My nephew is autistic but high-functioning, and his heart is so full of love and joy. All I had to do was find the right analogy of “always going to be there” comic books versus “not always going to be around” family and friends.
I told him that I also had made a choice that day.
He was more important than the work that had to be done that day. That’s why I’d stopped what I was doing to have lunch with him (which was immediately countered by a lecture about being responsible for doing my work so that I don’t lose my job and he doesn’t have to worry about me). But, he got the picture. And, in that moment, I realized I was actually speaking to myself. I needed a reminder.
Life is important. We only get one shot, and what we do with it matters.
The two hours spent eating, laughing, and visiting Grandma Ollie with my nephew by my side was necessary. It was like feeding my soul — my well-being — my life. Nourishment.
Then, it got me thinking about the earlier online service. “Talent needs a team to be terrific.” In other words, you need a team in your life to live it fully (your faith, your family, your friends, your hobbies, your passion, your purpose — balance in all things — a team to give you balance). Living fully is a culmination of many things, including connection, gratitude, forgiveness, knowledge, appreciation of other perspectives, worldly vision — that balance of all things is what gives importance to life.
And, I needed a reality check on that front. My nephew rocks.
I’m home now. Just got back and ready to dig back in with work with a fresh view. But first, I needed to share this with you.
I needed to share it because you are also important in my life.
I started this blog because of my love of food and my love of writing. And, you’ve been along for the ride the entire time! So, please forgive me for my absence. I promise I’ll have something more to say next week.
Have an awesome week, and make better choices — balanced choices. It’ll be on my radar for sure.
LET’S KEEP IT REAL: First and foremost, I do everything for the love of food. Most of what I write about is because I love it! If I don’t love it, I tell you about that, too. From time to time, I may receive monetary or product compensation for mentioning products, offering recommendations, providing endorsements, or including links to products or services when I blog. While that may be the case for some posts, it is not the case for all. When it’s sponsored, you’ll see #sponsored when I post. When I’m just sharing the love, I won’t use that particular tag or hashtag. What you need to know is that I only give shout outs when I actually use the product or love it so much it deserves a shout out, sponsored or not.
So, this is awkward.
Okay, I know! It’s been forever! And, I won’t make any excuses because I cooked plenty of times; I ate plenty of times, took plenty of pics, and I neglected to tell you any of it since September 2015. So, here’s a quick catch up… since last we spoke:
Holy mackerel, is this place good. Look, I will be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for anything fried, chocolatey, or bacony; so, Ida Claire already had a leg up on the “OMG! Love!” list with me, but I’m no sell-out. Just because […]
Last night, I couldn’t sleep; so, around midnight, I ventured out to one of my favorite 24/7 places in DFW, Café Brazil. This wasn’t my typical visit. I wasn’t looking so much to delve into the food and report back. This was just a good opportunity to soak up a little material and run with my thoughts.
The late night crowd painted a colorful picture as they entered the scene. I saw everything from young, energetic groups of friends meeting up for coffee to tired, older, much-better-looking-in-dim-lighting club goers. Some appeared to still be searching for the meaning of life but digging through the medicine cabinets and botox-filled syringes to find it – a very interesting collection to observe for a moment in time.
It’s funny. Comparing the two most distinctive groups, it almost seemed backwards. The younger group was a combination of happy, bright men and women who were relaxed and completely stripped down to their authentic self. They were a combination of alluring female beauties with little to zero make-up and seemingly not a care in the world, plus somewhat low-key yet attractive men who appeared completely intoxicated by the genuine behaviors of their female table mates. Both parties were entirely engaged and fearlessly diving into every word. They declared a tangible sort of freedom by laughing openly and heartily at jokes, enthusiastically sharing stories, and dynamically intertwining verbally with one another.
Whereas, the older group emoted a prison vibe, trapped in an evening they just needed to survive.
Each of the mature women repeatedly and somewhat desperately touched up their hair at the table, struggling to sit in a way that drew attention from the run-down, obviously disinterested men. They all sat in uncomfortable silence. The women’s faces were caked over with so much eyeliner and lipstick. Their postures were reminiscent of hungry puppies eagerly seeking a reward. One by one, they marched to the restroom to groom and primp, adding more shades to the color palette, drowning out the vibrant peachy hues of flesh to feature the gray, pasty spackled-on facades they relied on for attention. And, the men waited with emotionless and empty faces. I couldn’t really tell if they were miserable, just tired, or paralyzed from botulinum.
My food arrived – Chicken Crepes.
I was actually in the mood for grilled cheese but remembered how much I enjoyed their crepes filled with shredded chicken, mushrooms and spinach and that spicy cream sauce. I also convinced myself it was the healthier choice. Per the norm, the plate was generous in portion and in flavor. I wasn’t disappointed and was able to return to my people watching.
In a way, it was refreshing to see the newer generation unshackled from the conventional standards and social pressures oftentimes suffocating young women. But, perhaps that’s my own projection,recalling when my always confident, brutally honest conversations sometimes led to discussions about “toning it down” and not wanting to “chase anyone off.”
And, I guess that’s what I mean about backwards. Stereotypically, the more mature group should have been the carefree ones, knowing their truth from experience and fearlessly wearing it as a badge. While the younger group might still be finding their truth possibly muted by society’s standards at that stage in life. That wasn’t the case here. That characteristically millennial poise and conviction far outweighed the older crowd’s desire for acceptance. Maybe the older group’s desperation was their truth?
Anyway, the younger group demonstrated confidence, not once relying on a flip of their hair or even the lean forward of a shoulder to entice responsiveness from anyone. They each appeared relaxed and uninhibited.
Then in walked another uninhibited trio, freshly pressed at the local bar. Cawing above the ambient sounds of glasses clinking and tables chatting, they were engrossed in deeply philosophical and obnoxiously loud debates regarding manhood, anatomy and body art – oh, and very polite. A vulgarity-studded stance on the true meaning of friendship became so spirited that one of the girls stood up at the table to apologize to the entire establishment on behalf of the group for their animated conversation, flashing the middle finger to her partners seated next to her in order to reprimand them, only to return to the discussion at full volume seconds later.
By this time, it was close to 2am. Then came the late night science fiction crew, the salsa dancing sexpots and the failed date leftovers, each clearly marked by their appearance and behaviors.
The sci-fi crew was formulaic – adorned with black rimmed glasses and Dr. Who attire, excitedly discussing the “Greybeards of Higher Hrothgar.” The salsa sexpots, both men and women, were dressed in perfectly placed, tightly-fitted designs that were screaming from tension, and the group was too busy ogling one another at the table to see their server peeved and waiting to take their orders. The “failed dates” came in two forms: pairs of slouching men reeking of defeat and separate pairs of limping women wondering why they had suffered all night in those shoes for nothing.
Then, there was me. The jeans and t-shirt sporting female sitting at the corner table, alone with her plate and a cup of coffee, occasionally smiling to herself and carefully scanning the room from time to time, attempting to appear inconspicuous but giving herself away by typing feverishly on her laptop.
Needless to say, I had plenty to observe.
There’s really nothing better than sitting at a comfy table, eating a comfy dish, and watching people get comfy with one another. Thanks for the late night inspiration, Café Brazil.