Monday, November 28, 2016

Why I do not want to see more Gilmore Girls episodes.

Warning: Spoiler alert. Do not read if you haven't finished watching the new Gilmore Girls.

All I can say is Oy, with the poodles already.

Last night I finished the Gilmore Girls Revival. And like many of you, I was shocked by the final 4 words. Seriously, Amy, this is what I have been waiting 9 years to find out? I loved the 4 episodes. I cried all through the 4th episode. I felt so much closure with everyone until the final 4 words.  I mean, she's 32, she should know how to avoid this stuff. Maybe it would have made more sense at 22. And also, sleeping with an engaged guy? Seriously..That is so Rory season 4. But this is how Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted it. She wanted to come full circle. She wanted the generational cycle to continue and for the Gilmore Girls legacy to live on. I get that. I don't like it, but I understand. Few people love Gilmore Girls more than I do. I own every season. I've seen it more times than I can count. I know Gilmore facts and have loved all the reboot hype. But please do not make more. It won't be the same. Are we going to follow Rory as a single mom with no job and no home... That's already been done. And Loreli has been the single mom success story. I don't want to see the same story line again. I didn't like the last 4 words and therefore don't want to see more. I think more will just ruin it for me. Gilmore Girls is my happy place. And all good things must come to an end.

So I love Gilmore girls, I enjoyed the reboot, I didn't like the last 4 words, but I get it, Amy, I get it. But for me, the book is closed. We've come full circle. The end. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After the Election

I’m disappointed that today is still a day and age when a woman can’t get voted for president. Issues aside, I’m sad that the country is still not ready for a woman president. But thank you to Hillary for trying. Thank you for trying multiple times to break the glass ceiling. We like to pretend that it isn’t there, but it is. And even though it didn’t work and even though people weren’t ready, thank you for paving the way because next time maybe the world will be ready. But it’ll never happen if no one tries. And Hillary tried, even when it was stacked against her. I wanted to wake up this morning in a world where anyone can marry anyone and where a woman could be president. I wanted to go to work today proud that we are making strives for women. But it didn’t turn out how I thought it would. And as a woman, I feel defeated (on many levels), but I am grateful that Hillary tried. I’m grateful that she is chiseling through the barrier and maybe next time a woman runs for president, the nation will be ready. I will always remember the first time I voted for a woman president. I will be telling this story for years to come. It has been overshadowed by a hostile political environment, but I do believe it is still the start of something great. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's all relative.

Note: The following post was written July 8, 2014

I remember one day when I was in 3rd grade. It was grandparents day and my mom, Grandma Bebe, and I were in class. They were invited to our class for the day. After the festivities were over, I realized I had forgotten to do my homework. I repeat...I had forgotten to do my homework. If you know me at all, you know that is not me at all. I was basically in tears because I forgot to do one measly 3rd grade assignment. How little and inconsequential that one assignment was in the grand scheme of life.

In 7th grade, I made one B. One B the whole year. Do I even need to tell you how sad I was?

Flash forward to my senior year in college - it was finals in the fall semester. I had 4 finals that required a lot of work- I was still finishing my reading for Shakespeare the night before the final. Don't even get me started on Non-Euclidean Geometry.... .I felt like I'd never make it to Christmas break. There were some long nights at the library. Christmas break seemed so far and somehow it came. And I passed and everything worked out.

I am the type of student (and teacher) that always gets anxious before the first day of school. I am the type of student that still has school-gone-bad dreams. I have (I repeat: currently have) a reoccurring dream that I am in college and forget to attend math class all semester. And it's the end of the semester and I'm failing...

So here I am 3 days before my dissertation is "due" for committee distribution and I feel yet again that I will never make it to the other side of  this wall....that these 3 days will never end. That I'll never graduate. And yet all that stands between me and the end are a few days...albeit long days, but a few days just the same.

So it's all relative, right? What I thought was the end of the world in 4th grade sure did feel like it to me. And it wasn't. What I thought was the end of the world in fall 05, sure felt like it to me.  But it wasn't. I finished. I passed. And right now, in this place, my head knows that this too shall pass... and like most things in will all be ok.

And once it's'll all have to call me Dr.

Thanks and gigem.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My life lesson from Van Gogh

One of my favorite art moments was when Van Gogh's Starry Night came to Houston. A friend and I drove from College Station to see it. Why, you ask?  Because it is the Starry Night. Everybody knows this painting. Everyone can pick it out. It's practically Van Gogh's claim to fame. We all talk how great the painting is, how beautiful it is, and how talented Van Gogh was.

Last week I was in France and Van Gogh is everywhere in France.  I especially enjoyed following his footsteps in Arles and St. Remy. In these two small towns in Provence, France, I was able to walk where he walked, see what he saw. I also learned more about his life than I had before and what struck me most, was how alone he was. Now sure he's one of the most well-known artists of all time. When you think of artists, he'd be in your top 5, for sure. But at the time that he lived, people thought he was weird and strange. The people of Arles signed a petition requesting him to leave the city. Now, yes, he did some strange things and clearly posed some aggressive behavior and he did cut off his ear and hand it to a bartender. Yes, those are all strange, but after it's all said and done, he was ridiculously talented, but still so shunned. And so alone. I felt so sorry for him. He had so much to give, but it didn't matter. People didn't care. They wanted him gone.

Now, truth be told. I don't know the whole story and you may know more about VanGoh than I do and I would love to keep learning. So let's meet for a drink and share Van Goh stories. But my take-away from this part of the trip was that he was alone and people shunned him. And really, regardless of what anyone does or says, I still hate to think that they have no one and that they will still be alone.

I hope that I can see past people's perceived weirdness. I hope that I can see past poor choices and mistakes. I hope that no matter what, I still choose to love people - all kinds of people. And I know it's not easy and I am not blameless when it comes to unconditional love. But sometimes people just need community - other people to show them that they have value and that they are loved. We all just need people to go through this journey with.

Van Gogh made ordinary things beautiful. Ordinary buildings became extraordinary buildings. Normal colors became vivid blues and yellows. A typical night became one of the most famous paintings of all time. But what's difficult to understand is that a man who saw beauty in so many things, could not see the beauty in himself.

It makes me sad, but also serves as a reminder that there are people out there that need to be reminded that they are beautiful. They need my love and I hope I don't keep it from them - for any reason at all.

A replica of Cafe at Night 
in front of the original cafe painted by Van Gogh

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My favorite coffee shops in Houston

I am no food critique nor a coffee expert. But I live near some really great coffee shops and I like good coffee. Isn't that enough to have an opinion? And also, people ask me what my favorite places are, so here they are. If you don't agree, that's ok. But these are mine.

1. Blacksmith - Blacksmith is run by the same people as Anvil. If you've been to Anvil, read no further. That is all you need to know. Just like Anvil, they do everything well. I expected nothing less from the Anvil people. (Which is how I feel about Pastry war, too, so my next blog might be on my favorite margaritas). Back to Blacksmith - Possibly the best coffee in the city, in my opinion. It's adorable inside, good coffee, wi-fi, and amazing biscuits. What more do you want? The drawbacks are they keep the temperature cold  and there are no couches. This works for me, because I usually need to work, but if I want to read a book and relax, I usually don't go here. And one of the biggest perks - they make their own almond milk and it's amazing. Try the flat white. Add vanilla. You will not go wrong.

2. Southside Espresso - This is my newest fave. It's everything you think a hipster coffee shop should look like. They have wi-fi, good coffee, beer, wine, and all the milk substitutes. Oh and they have Topo Chico. Did I mention it's hipster? A lady walked in last week and ordered "A coconut milk latte and a vegan muffin." I love Houston. If you're not vegan, don't worry they have all the other pastries, too. Although, I haven't actually tried the pastries, so I can't speak from experience, but I'm sure they're good. Oh and there is always room to sit, which is a huge plus. It's a little hidden gem behind Uchi on Westheimer and it's good.

3. Catalina's coffee - Before I discovered #1 and #2, this was my Houston fave. And it's still darn good coffee. This is where I go to read. They don't have wi-fi, so I usually can't work here. But they have a great couch where I make myself comfortable and read.  Also, they don't have almond milk. I try to not drink real milk, so this is a draw back for me. They have soy milk, though. But if you want to splurge on the real deal, it's good. I promise.

4. Revival Market - This is a neighborhood favorite. On so many levels. They have good coffee and also a good latte. They have almond and soy milk. They are a meat-centric market, so apparently they do meat well. I don't actually know from experience, but I don't doubt it's good. After you get your coffee, shop for local produce. We once got breakfast in exchange for blood oranges from our tree. They are not kidding about being local. Love this place. It's a great little place and is so much more than a coffee shop. If you've never been, you must stop by and check it out. This is the heights. And I love it.

You only get 4, because for me, there is a drop off from these four to all the other coffee shops. That's just how much I like them. If you like good coffee, you'll like them, too. You will.

I have been to pretty much most coffee places in the heights/montrose area. If I didn't mention it, it's probably because I don't consider it to be on the same level as these. But let me know what your fave is and if I haven't been there, I will be sure to try it out.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My 30th Birthday

I set out to write an amazing, heartfelt, post of all the wise things I learned in my 20's. It was going to be witty and wise, and have a catchy theme, like "30 things I learned before 30." And it never came. And I thought and I thought and it still never came. And yesterday, while in the shower - which mind you is where all my great thoughts develop - I realized that I couldn't write it became I was thinking about it all wrong. I realized that my 30th Birthday doesn't mark the end of anything. I can't spend all week grieving my lost 20's or thinking of all the things I haven't done by now. That is silly. Hitting 30 is just another day. And besides, I have a good life and so many things to be proud of and grateful for. So, today on my 30th, I'm not going to look at it is at the end of something, but rather look at it as just another day for me to be the very best Lauren that I can.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bringing back the Holiday Spirit with a Bag of Ice.

Christmas is stressful. It's become about expensive gifts and bigger and better Christmas lights. I'm not big on Christmas decorations. I don't put up a tree, I put up minimal decorations, and Brad and I don't give each other gifts. This is my way of avoiding Christmas stress. This is my way of trying to preserve the Holiday spirit. What good is a bunch of decorations if it causes stress? What good is shopping for the perfect gift, if the gift isn't even appreciated? Where has the Holiday spirit gone?

I try not to push my minimalist Holiday view on others, but inevitably I'm reminded every year that the holiday season has become less about loving people, family time, and baby Jesus, and more about gifts, decorations and elves on the shelves.

But this year I saw a glimpse of the Holiday Spirit and it made my heart smile. We threw our annual Lights in the Heights party. This is the reason I put up any decorations at all. And every year the corner store runs out of ice really early in the day. What can you expect when 40,000 Houstonians are visiting the Heights? Brad walked to the corner store, just after a guy had bought the rest of the ice. So Brad walked back to house without ice. These things happen, right? As Brad was walking back to the house, the guy that bought all of the ice drove by and gave Brad some ice. Small, insignificant, gesture? Possibly. But on the biggest Heights event night of the year, it meant something. In the midst of hosting and party planning, this guy remembered to spread the holiday spirit. He remembered Christmastime is about giving. So here's to you, random Heights guy - Thank you for spreading Holiday cheer and reminding me that the Holiday spirit is still alive and well. You just have to be open to it.