Cool new find in Oklahoma: The Blue Bean Coffee Company

A few weeks ago a friend and I met for coffee.  He (John) had me choose and I wanted to find some place different, as in not a Starbucks.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against them….just wanted something different.  Moving on, so I went to my trusty friend (aka Google) and searched for coffee places in the area.  One result was The Blue Bean Coffee Company located technically in Oklahoma City, though to me it is in Moore.  I’m splitting hairs.  Anyway, I had read a little about it online and it looked like a place we would like.  As soon as we walked in, I was greeted by a warm, friendly face (whom I later learned was one of the owners).  There was a group of people sitting down at some tables that looked like they were regulars.  My friend and I walked up to the counter to order.  While we were both deciding on what to get, I looked around and smiled when I noticed the various Chicago memorabilia and decor.  I knew I had made the right choice in coffee shops (and I hadn’t even gotten my drink yet).  We got our drinks and picked a table nearby.  On the wall opposite us, I saw various photographs that I assumed were from local artists or friends of the owners.  I mentioned to John that one day I’d like to have my pictures displayed in a shop someday.

Later that same day, I wrote the owner an e-mail and being my mother’s daughter (both my parents are from Chicago), I asked the owner if she was from Chicago after seeing the decor in shop).  She replied that lived there 25 years.  One week later, John and I met at Blue Bean again and this gave the owner and I a chance to visit about where my parents grew up.  I couldn’t help but laugh knowing my Mom would be so proud when I told her about the conversation later.  Like last time, John and I chose a table where we could sit and enjoy our coffee (which is great by the way).   Danae, the owner, was nice enough to offer me the opportunity to hang some of my pictures in the shop. I will be delivering the pictures soon.  I have no idea what kind of price I’ll put on them, if any.  I’ll be flattered if anyone shows any interest.  It is just cool to have this opportunity.  So my point in all of this is to encourage you to come and try out Blue Bean Coffee.  Not only will you get friendly service, good coffee but you’ll get to see my pictures….so you there yet?  Also, go “like” it on Facebook as they give away drinks to those who become fans.

Urban Spoon is also a great place for reviews.

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/46/500119/restaurant/Suburban-Southside/Blue-Bean-Coffee-Oklahoma-City

Sincerely,
Blue Bean Fan (and amateur photographer) in Norman

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The Town I Love So Well

Ever since I was a little girl, there is a town that has been closely associated with my family.  This town means so much to not only my parents, sisters and myself but also my cousins and extended family.  Sometime earlier this year, my Dad (who is 82) announced that he was up for going to Lake Geneva once again.  The designated travel agent in the family, my middle sister and mother of 5, asked if he was serious.  When he continued to bring up the idea, she decided that was a yes.  Planning a trip that includes Dad is a big deal.  He’s got multiple health issues so getting clearance from his doctor to fly was a must before moving forward. Once he gave the okay, we booked our flights.   Months passed by, dates were chosen and we began to make plans.  Fast forward to July 15th.  11 people arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at various times.  I arrived a few hours after everyone else.  I was thrilled that I’d be able to look forward to take in the drive, enjoy the scenery of farms and all that comes with the Midwest.  The drive only took about 45 minutes.  When the town of Lake Geneva began to come into view, I couldn’t help but smile.  “Finally” I thought.  I pulled up to the hotel, grabbed my bag and waited for my sister to meet me so I could get into one of the side entrances.  I wasn’t there 5 minutes when I heard a voice call my name and I turned around to see my cousin wheeling a luggage cart toward the door.  He was just one of about 20 cousins I saw in the mere 4 days we were there.  I made my way to my sister’s room where there was already a crowd…and that was just the 11 of us from Oklahoma and Texas.  I sat down to eat but before I could take my first bite, in walked about 7 more cousins.  I laughed and thought, “Here we go…” The list of cousins and family members on my Dad’s side is long.  I knew we’d be seeing them during our stay…just didn’t expect to see the bulk of them on the first night.  As hungry as I was, I loved being surrounded by the chaos that comes with our family. 

For whatever reason, we only booked our stay from Sunday-Friday.  Instead of dwelling on why we didn’t reserve our rooms for longer, we simply made the most of the stay.  We ate, shopped, and just relaxed.  As we tend to do each time, we took a boat ride around the lake.  This year, we took The Mailboat.  This is the vehicle to which residents who own homes on the lake receive their mail, hence the marine delivery.  I urge you to check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-9UoDF25xg

My sisters and I enjoy seeing my Mom grin from ear to ear every time she takes the boat ride.  She has taken it so many times now that she’ll get this funny look on her face if she thinks the commentator has forgotten some pertinent fact.  Along this boat ride, you will see homes that belong to some of the wealthiest families from Chicago and across the country including the Wrigley’s (who own the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley gum) as well as the Maytag family.  Check out some of the digs:

What, doesn’t everyone have a private dock?

Yea, but where will the guests stay?

On a whim during dinner one night, my sister called a photographer that has taken pictures of our family a few times before in Lake Geneva.  She left her a message asking if she was by any chance free to take a group photo once again.  Fortunately Carol was available and two days later, we were all gathered around The Riviera. When she got there, she was greeted by about 25 of us.  She even got tears in her eyes upon seeing how much my nephews and niece had grown.  It was pretty sweet.  The background of boats and water was perfect and created such lasting memories for the whole gang of us. 

My middle sister and I are rarely seen without our cameras, especially with family around and on vacation.  So when my nephews, niece, brother-in-law and cousins rented Sea Doos, we were there to greet them, armed with our cameras to capture the moment of absolute giddiness.  My brother-in-law looked like he was a kid, I loved seeing that. 

Jay on the Sea Doo

 

Friday came all too quickly and it was time to pack up and head back home.  I left the earliest out of the group and oh man was it hard to leave Lake Geneva.  Just like Phil Coulter reflects on his hometown of Derry in Northern Ireland in The Town I Loved So Well, the town means that much to us.  Many years ago, we used to own a condo in Lake Geneva.  As soon as school was out in the summer, we would pack up the suburban and head north.  We stayed there all summer, returning to Texas only a few days before school started again.  In the winter, we flew up to Chicago, visited family and then made the 2 hour drive north.  Because of this, we got to see and experience snow at a young age and became quite close with our cousins.  We love the small town feel, the ice cream parlors, the way it relaxes all of us and simply put…the memories.  During this last visit, my middle sister Kathy got that look in her eye when we passed real estate listings.  I could tell what she was thinking because it’s the same thing we’re all wondering.  She said, “Gosh, I wonder what it would take to own a condo or suite like the one we are staying in now…” I couldn’t help but laugh because we tend to get that itch every time we visit.  This is truly the one place all of us would move in a heartbeat.  Lake Geneva is definitely the town we will always love so well. I urge everyone to visit.  As is the motto, “It’s always been the place…”

Bye Week

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching my Sooners whether it’s at home or on tv when they are away from Owen Field.  However, since I work the football games and am usually pretty useless on the Sunday following a home game, I was thrilled this was a bye week for OU.  I knew I would actually have a chance of getting something done.  Last night, I vacuumed my apartment for the first time in well, too long.  I made a mental list of what I wanted to get accomplished this weekend.  These pictures can show it didn’t take me long….the crap was practically screaming at me…

 

When I get in these moods, I start off very gung-ho.  I tell myself that I’m going to get a lot done….all the surfaces will be clean and I’ll feel so good.  I then turn on the tv to have something to watch in the background.  One of my piles becomes pictures I want framed.  So I get up and find a coupon for Michael’s.  Back to the piles….I see an old magazine with an article about my Dad in it…so I begin reading and become engrossed in it….forgetting about the other piles of crap lying around me.  Naturally, I made the pictures my priority and added a trip to Michael’s to the agenda. 

Another thing I haven’t been to in a few weeks in church so I wanted to make sure I went today. After framing my pictures and doing a load of laundry, I changed for church.  After mass was over, I came home finish the piles. Well, that was the intention….but as of right now, not all the crap is off the counters….but there’s another day to the weekend left to go.  Plus, I have this to consume….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories

I was e-mailing back and forth with a long-time family friend yesterday.  What began as a response to a Facebook posting of mine turned into some reminiscing for both of us.  The topic of her mother, the late Patsy Rockwood, came up and that brought us both to tears.  She reiterated how much her mom thought of me and that she would be proud of what I’ve done with my life.  I made the mistake of reading her message during some downtime of yesterday’s football game.  As I began reading, I felt my eyes get water, so I quickly exited out of the message.  Knowing what to expect, I opened it back up later.  I smiled at what she wrote and memories of her Mom started flashing through my mind.  I loved her mother like my own-she just had this sweet way about her and we formed a bond.  When I was little, my Mom would take me to church with her.  On the way back from communion, I would spot “Pappa” as I called her, and would sit with her for the rest of mass.  She would stretch out her arm and engulf me in a hug.  Though her name was Patsy, I was too little to use her first name.  So she was, and will always be, Pappa to me.  We lost her too soon to cancer years ago but she will always be with me.

While doing errands today, I was listening to some music via my iPod.  The song “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton came on and for some reason, I started thinking about Pappa again.  It didn’t take long before the tears started flowing.  I laughed, saying to myself “hmm, maybe I won’t go to the store just yet.”  So I just kept driving.  I finally pulled over and let the tears come.  After composing myself, I looked toward the sky and said, “Oh Pappa, I hope you know how much I loved you….just show me that you know that.”  On my way back to the store, I’m driving down a side street.  I look up briefly to see a street sign on the right and smile: Rockwood Dr.  I turned around and pulled over by the entrance.  I grabbed my phone and took a picture of the sign.  As corny as it sounds, I couldn’t help but look up to sky and grin.