NYC Diner

I'm sitting in a busy Manhattan Diner not far from Time Square. Nothing has been updated since the sixties. I wait for quite some time as the waiter ignores me and I finally flag him down. "Excuse me. I'd like to order please."

"Alright...what do you want." he says as if it's excruciating. He's so grumpy it's funny.

I order a latte and stare out the giant window facing the street. The sound of the subway is muffled in the distance, buried beneath the sounds of cars honking and and ambulances blaring and people talking. Pedestrians fly by the window a dozen at a time.

I look across the street to find a high-rise building under construction. Two workers have a white 5 gallon bucket with a rope tied to it. They fill the bucket with 2X4s, only four at a time, before hoisting it up several floors. Over and over again. I smile at the silliness of the scene, enjoying the people watching and commotion outside.

Most of the waiters here are older, in their sixties or so. Mine is big and tall guy with giant thick glasses. His eyes appear overly large and cartoonish behind the lenses. After quite some time, he brings me my latte. It's in a basic, old tan coffee mug and is billowing with a marshmallow-like foam, seeping over the sides. I take a sip. Hmmmm. Nice and burnt, like I got the coffee that's been sitting at the bottom of the pot for a couple of days, definitely not espresso lol.

I order a waffle and the waiter replies in a deep New York accent accompanied by a cold straight face, "OK. WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS" and walks away, to which I smile at the possibilities. Oh no. lol.

I sip the burnt coffee (officially the worst cup of coffee I have ever had) happily enjoying the authenticity of this experience.

 

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Passion

I'm intrigued by others who share the same positive, loving passion and zeal for life. They see the world differently. When together, the energy within them radiates and multiplies and lifts despite any hardships or pain.

  • Stories from life. Names have been changed.

It's a weekday and the city is bustling with events. People are flying in from all over the world to be apart of this creative city for a week. It's an exciting time for some; a great annoyance for others. For Taylor, it's the best.

Taylor's sitting in the kitchen of her friend's house in Westlake, wearing a black dress she wore to her solo show the week before. It's vintage looking, classy, sexy and strong. Red lips and dark nails. She picks up a glass of red wine from the granite countertop and takes a sip. The house belongs to her friend Kat and is a dream, tastefully modern yet comfy. Taylor and Kat met at an artist retreat on a ranch a couple of months before and hit if off over smoky campfire talk. 

They're all dressed up because they're attending a private party close by. One last sip of wine and Taylor and Kat gather their bags to head over. The house was formerly owned by Lance Armstrong and is stunning. It represents both the greatness one human being can achieve and the equal and inevitable downfall and spiderweb of destruction caused when things get out of hand. Everyone's human, and are humans meant to climb that high? Can anyone really handle that?

The women check in at the front door, crossing over the threshold and into a new adventure. Taylor leads Kat into the backyard and over to the beautiful pool lit by twinkle lights. She looks up to find herself surrounded by Van Gogh trees as far as the eye can see. They're divine. She turns left to find a crowd of guests dressed to the nines, joyfully mingling. Armie Hammer walks by with his beautiful wife; Richard Linklater chats it up with some friends. As Taylor scans the space before her a kind and familiar face comes into focus, a friend of hers named Brad. He snaps a pic, they catch up and then the two women continue on. 

As Kat and Taylor take it all in, two classy women approach them, "Are you two here on your own?" one of them asks. 

"I have some friends here, but yes we came together," replies Taylor.

"Oh wonderful," says the woman in a Russian accent. "It's nice to meet you, we don't know anyone here."

The four of them chat, sharing stories. One is originally from the Ukraine; the other from Russia. They both live up north in the States. The four of them hit it off when another guest approaches them.

"Are y'all actresses?" the man asks. 

"No, we're not," the women laugh. 

"Well you all definitely look it." "I'm Christian, nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you as well," everyone replies.

"What do you all do?" he asks the group. Everyone shares their story and then Taylor hers.

"I'm a painter," says Taylor. "I returned from traveling last year and paint full time now."

"Oh nice. Where did you travel?"

"All over western U.S., Greece, Kosovo and also lived in San Diego a bit.

"Really where in San Diego?" 

"La Jolla."

"That's where I'm from," he says with a big smile. 

"Oh how funny, what a small world!"

The four women make their way through the event, meeting new and interesting souls; catching up with old friends, including a good friend Matt who introduces them to many new people. A favorite couple is Chris and Sean who are incredibly fun and kind, sharply dressed. The night is full of stories exchanged, ideas discussed as the night air caresses their faces and whispers a message..."dreamers." 

As the clock strikes ten, a classic smart blonde named Jess walks up to Kat, Taylor, and Matt and informs them of the after party location  - Mel's family home in the neighborhood a few blocks away. The fabulous house is a brightly colored vintage candy dream from back in time. They enjoy pizza served with a side of vodka tonics in colorful and fun vintage glass goblets. Taylor's kind of style alright.

They sit in the pink and green kitchen, sharing about life, relationships, laughs. Jess and her friend Mel are both actresses and are in character, as their an acting duo and are wonderfully hilarious. There's music as well.  Christian plays the piano in a distant room, feeling the pull of the keys to his fingertips. It's passionate and beautiful, filling the room exquisitely.

After some time, everyone has sobered up and agrees it's time to move on to the next house. This time a different neighborhood close by. The adventure continues and when they arrive Taylor feels as if she's back in Paris with her brother and sister-in-law. Oh how she misses Paris so. They walk inside the next house, sophisticated, dark and tasteful, to be greeted by gorgeous piano. Everyone takes a quiet seat and is serenaded into the dark, cool night.

It's the perfect ending to the perfect artistic day with new friends.

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Happiness

Location: A nice neighborhood on the Oregon Coast

A small bar that's intimate and cozy, with sturdy wood tables & soft lighting.

Its' quite busy inside with a hip staff and array of customers. A young couple from Austin Texas stop in for a drink. The man chooses a mean old fashioned and the woman, a fizzy ginger cocktail. They sit cozily in the back of the bar.

Suddenly a middle-aged man walks in and approaches the couple.

"Mind if I sit here?" He asks them, pointing to a nearby chair.

"Sure, please do!"

He's comfortable, like he's been there before. The woman helps him connect his phone to WiFi. "I'm not good at this sort of thing, technology..." he tells her. "Where are you guys from?"

"Austin," says the young man. "And you?"

"Oh yeah, Austin's great," a phrase the couple has heard many times on their long road trip. The stranger's eyes turn bright and he begins to tell them his story.

"Well, I'm from the East Coast originally. Was a professional snow border in the 1980s. Moved down here 25 years ago. You know, you can ski down Mt. Hood right now. It's got snow."

He takes a sip of his stiff cocktail, very possibly his fourth due to his slurred speech. He waves his arm wildly and points South.

"My home is just down the road, walked here in fact. It's HUGE, got four bedrooms." He continues without a pause. "Got an amazing wife, a career woman, she makes a lot of money but she travels a lot, a kid, and a dog." He points to a picture on his phone. "That's our kid." He smiles.  There's a tinge of sadness mixed in with his smile as he mentions his family. It feels honest and true.

"These days I work as a carpenter. You know, after my injury my sports career was over. And so it's nice to have an active job, working with my hands outside in the sun."

He shares stories of his high-profile customers and of all the places he's traveled to over time, especially while competing. He's been EVERYWHERE. He's seen a lot, and they have a feeling he's been through a lot too.

The man is quite funny and has everyone laughing hysterically. By the end of the night the couple has an offer to stay at his place, although they graciously decline.

The woman wonders what this man is all about. He seems to have it all but is he happy? He sure doesn't seem happy. There's something missing alright and he's searching for it.

As the couple gathers their belongings, ready to say their goodbyes, a mother and daughter sitting next to them smile warmly. The mother tells the couple she too had traveled for a year when she was in her twenties. Her face lights up as she remembers her past adventures. Her daughter is just as friendly. "I love Austin. I hope to live there one day," she tells the couple.

"Yes, it's a GREAT town."

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A walk through the imaginative mind of Frank Loyd Wright via Talisen West

It's difficult to believe this is a reality, not a fictional land but a concrete place providing a solid way of life. To take it all in in such short time is quite a challenge. So many intricate details and unexpected lines made of broken rules. Every inch of space cared for, not ignored but instead cared for, attentively nourished with loving thought and purpose so that it may stand alone with dignity and individuality. This place is candy for the eyes. It ignites my inner child, connecting her with my Grandpa through remembrance of stories of his apprenticeship with Mr. Wright. Connecting us all through each step. It took me a while to get to Talisen West but I realize Grandpa's here with me now and it's a lovely feeling.

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