Mon Claire Patisserie

I wrote before about my mission to stay local in Kin Town, where we live–this is on my mind more and more.  Each day, I find myself in negotiations with the tiny dictator who rules my life now.

Last week, she kindly allowed me to go to Mon Claire Patisserie, a bakery that Carl and I had walked to before.  With the suffocating wet Okinawa heat, I was happy to snag a shady parking spot and head inside for an iced coffee.

IMG_2637

T was loving it!  I had a coffee and a raspberry pudding, she had milk (her favorite snack).  We leaned back and soaked in the cute decor while reading all about The Boss.  Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run reads like poetry, and I read it in little sips with pauses to decode and digest.

More than anything, I was just glad to be out of the house.  This place was amazing; I will definitely be back!

IMG_2663

Weekend update: Coming home!!!

Why does it feel so good to go home? It’s the ultimate comfort to leave Japan behind and board a whale shark painted plane headed for home sweet home.  I’m writing this from the airport, waiting to board and struggling to stay awake!  My carry-on baggage is packed with an eye mask and travel slippers–it’s going to be a comfy flight.

  
This week has been busy and exciting: my friend Sarah is leaving the island (sad face), so I spent much of our time checking off items on her “bucket list”.  One day at beautiful Toguchi beach, one day devouring an enormous ice cream mountain, and one last Okinawa pedicure.

selfie queens hard at work


Between all the  adventuring and the working, I neglected sleep for several days. Sanity suffers, and at one point I looked in the mirror and found myself wearing this hot mess:
  Note the shark shirt.

But truly, who has time to sleep? A full four hours is all I really need, and I’m ready for more.

 

 I hope you’re ready, San Diego.

Ode to Libraries

Can we just talk about libraries for a minute, and how they’re the best thing ever?

There’s just something about a library.  As a kid, it was one of the few places that I could walk to from my house, so I spent a lot of time there, especially in the summer.  I know that my library can’t be the only one with amazing air conditioning.  I remember walking through the shelves, looking at books I would probably never read, in awe of the fact that I could read them if I wanted to.  When I was very young, I took my Grandma to the library to show her the “foreign language” section, and she sat on a stool, engrossed in one of the books with the tiniest print.  I distinctly remember once asking one librarian if there was a limit to how many books I could check out, and her reply:

“Um…I think maybe thirteen?”

And you can bet I wobbled out of that library with thirteen books stacked in my arms, ready to hike back home.

When I moved to Maryland a few years ago, one of the first things I did was find the closest library.  They needed a piece of mail as proof of residence, but I hadn’t officially moved in yet, so I showed them a cell phone picture of my lease–and it worked.  I loved adding that library to part of my day-off little routine: walking to get groceries, switching out some books at the library, then grabbing a coffee and sitting down to read.

I think that belonging to a library ties you to something.  All of the book lovers are united (and random people using the computers for Craigslist or those just looking for a quiet place to nap).  Just going to the library is one of my favorite things to do.

Since moving to Okinawa, I have been lucky enough to find a library.  I have had so much fun so far getting to try all of the food and explore my little neighborhood–and can’t wait to see even more!

Happy reading!!

072493378284978ffcc46888a3a2d621_400x400

Spring has Sprung!

Last week, a magical change took place in D.C.  It seemed like it just kind of snuck up on us: suddenly flowers were blooming, people were out enjoying the sunshine, and new life was all around. Spring was FINALLY here!

One of my favorite rituals when the weather is nice is to grab a pinic blanket and dive headfirst into a great book.  Yesterday, I went to a park near my house with a big, cold bottle of iced tea and a library copy of Eugene Sledge’s With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa.  There were kids playing in the grass, and a few really adorable puppies.  Within a few minutes of reading in the sun, I was fast asleep.  What more can a girl ask for?

I hope you are all enjoying this weather as much as I am! Happy reading, readers!

Destination Reading

There’s a certain amount of smugness that I get when the flight attendant tells all the other passengers to put away their portable electronics and I think to myself, But I don’t have to put away my book.

But really, is there anything better than a good book on a great trip? Somehow the two memories fuse together, and you can never pick up that book again without remembering that summer or that Christmas.

Continue reading

Spaghetti & Meatballs: My Day in Dupont Circle

Kramer Books & Afterwords

Some things just belong together: peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, books and…booze?  Hmm.

When I first heard about a place that combined the two, I knew I had to try it. I imagined the energy of a cute little coffee shop, with customers quietly sipping draft beers while a live guitarist plays in the background.  Kramer Books & Afterwords (get it? Afterwords, like words in a book!) was not quite that; it was more like a bookstore with an adjoining hallway into a restaurant, with another adjoining hallway into a bar.  It was 11AM on a Wednesday, so there were like two people in the bar, and they were just watching futbol on a flatscreen.  In the restaurant part, where I eventually set up camp, there were a few young looking girls sipping on wine and gossiping about their weekend.  I ordered a Chocolate Nutella Torta and a coffee, and enjoyed a solid hour of people watching.  Kramer Books gets five stars as a people-watching location.

When I take my book somewhere, I spend about 80% of my concentration looking cute and bookish, 10% watching other people read, 5% enjoying the coffee/tea, and 1% actually reading.  Whatever percent is left I use to text.  Kramer Books was a great spot to eavesdrop on other people and look cute, but nobody else was there to read so I left soon after I finished my food.

kramer

Books-A-Million

It was still early in the day, and I wanted to wander a little bit.  I found my way into Books-A-Million, and was immediately impressed at how large their selection was.  This place had a whole section dedicated to t-shirts, another dedicated to candles, and a ton of space for books.  Lots and lots and lots of books.  Another plus: they had Wifi and a small sitting area by the coffee shop with plenty of outlets.  I love hanging around a bookstore all day, and for that, an outlet is a must.

Book selection here was huge.  The problem was that they had too much of everything else–there were huge displays of electronic accessories, Big Bang Theory merchandise, keychains, calendars, etc., etc.  I still hadn’t found my reading safe-haven.   I need plush chairs, a low hum of constant noise, and books!

This might be a good spot to plug in something that my mom asked me to throw in: as a kid, I loved to read.  I read ALL the time, and my parents did whatever they could to feed my voracious appetite for more, more, MORE books.  Sometimes, as a mother-daughter activity, my mom and I would go to a coffee shop with our respective books, order a drink (coffee for her,cider for me), and just read.  I called it “Dream Tea”.  Not sure where that name came from, but right now in my life, I am looking for a place to have a nice Dream Tea.  Books-a-Million was a great bookstore, but unfortunately, it was not the Dream Tea Spot I was searching for.  I poked around for a bit, charged my phone, and moved on.

Rock Creek Park

I walked and walked around Dupont Circle, and actually passed a few bookstores.  None of them looked cozy enough for my liking, and somehow, I ended up at Rock Creek Park.  I heard a stream bubbling, and got SO excited–that’s not a sound you hear very often in D.C.  A little trail took me to a stream, but unfortunately, there was no place to sit.  There was a little wall by the stream that I sat on for a while, but it’s like it was purposely designed to be uncomfortable.  Also, there was a really strong smell in the area that made me think that it was at some point someone’s master bathroom.  A good place for selfies, but not for reading.  
photo 3

Starbucks

I hate to say it, but the best place to read in Dupont Circle turned out to be the two-story Starbucks a few blocks from the Metro.  This place had everything: outlets, calming music, plenty of interesting people to watch, and of course, coffee!  I was really hoping to find a little hole-in-the-wall place and be a true hipster, but it just didn’t turn out that way.

I’m a little disappointed in myself that I ended up loving the “boring” choice, but as my boyfriend would say, it’s just classic.  At every Italian restaurant, he’ll order spaghetti and meatballs, no matter what other amazing things are on the menu.  He doesn’t want to try the pesto, he doesn’t want the alfredo, he doesn’t want all of that “fancy stuff”.  I guess at the end of the day, I’m a spaghetti and meatballs kinda girl after all.
hlreadslogo