Here is my secret to perpetual happiness. It is also my secret to not fitting into my swimsuit and carrying a perpetually low bank balance. I like going out for lunch.
I like going out to lunch because it gives me something to look forward to after breakfast, and restaurants give me a safe place to talk to strangers. I adore talking to strangers.
Sometimes I go with other adults, but most often I'm in the company of Studley. Today was a Studley day. We went to Common Ground, which is run by a religious organization I know nothing about. The food is great, the people are nice, and the interior looks and feels as though hobbits built it. See for yourself:
Now that I've shown you, I realize that a picture can't possibly do it justice. All of the tables are in little nooks with rounded roofs and tables made from a slice of wood - edges left with bark and top urethaned to a thick gloss. Little benches are curved around the tables. No two are alike. All the surfaces are wood - wood paneled walls, wood floors, hand carved counters and work areas. It is dark and soothing. The people wear very simple clothing and are just as nice as can be. The clientelle is always nice too, and their clothing ranges from business suits to Misfits t-shirts.
They make a lot of their own food - certainly all of their bread. They have farms and raise or grow many of their ingredients. They also sell some of the things they make (although they are always low on their house dressing when I ask).
I always get an Iced Common Ground, even though I know what's in it. My friend Dawn bought the mix.... or whatever form it comes in. I think you brew it. She had a hard time making it come out like theirs - she tried milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk... nothing worked. So she asked them. Half and half. Everything is better with half and half. It also has carob, mint and yerba mate in it. Now just because I lived in Boulder does not mean I necessarily like this stuff. I generally hear a combination including carob and think "now why would I drink that?" It must be the half and half because this is delicious. I also got a taco salad - and what can possibly be wrong with a salad you dollop sour cream on?
Studley got the peanut butter and banana sandwich and when it arrived he said "thank you" to the waitress, despite his limited vocabulary of mama, stuck, avocado, soup, brush-and-floss and ow (which actually means "cat"). She said "you're welcome". My heart sang.
Yes, he really says "brush and floss."
Like I said, I don't know anything about their beliefs. But I always like reading about such things, so I picked up a pamphlet. From the pamphlet I made my way to one of their websites. And from there I made it to their related links page because I was still curious about the group. I think they are "Twelve Tribes". Again, they are super nice and make a mean taco salad. So I like them.
I left there feeling a trifle too wholesome and got myself a pedicure.
I had used up all my chattiness and was back in introverted mode, so it was up to Studley. He flirted shamelessly at the nail salon and when we left everyone said goodbye to him. He can work a room.
By the time we picked up Lucy from school, the sun was out and it was fine beach weather. The tide was on its way out, giving us ample acreage to splash in. Studley was knocked over by a 1.75" wave and got saltwater in his mouth. I almost pushed him over so I could see the scrunched up "ew, what IS that?!?!?" expression again. But people were watching.
Now that they are in bed it has decided to rain, which is making the whole world smell absolutely perfect.
Unless you're sitting next to the chickens. They're stinky.