Whats Up? (aka the past 4 Months)- Frisco, Texas

Back in April I started posting about the trip me and the bf took to Europe together at the end of March and since then it’s been pretty much all i’ve posted about- both because I had so many photographs I wanted to share and because I do like providing a more linear kind of blogging experience vs sporadic postings all over the place. But, because of that and my reigning title as Exemplary Blogging Procrastinator, it’s now the middle of August and i’m just now finishing up posting about the trip (which isn’t even counting the fact that I didn’t do my usual Outtakes post but lets not get into that…)

So whats up?

A fair amount of stuff actually. Here’s a handy numerical list of things :

1- House sold. The bf and I decided you know what, as has probably been apparent for a good while, living in the suburbs isn’t for us so we decided after 3 years of living out there in a house much too big for just the two of us, to sell it and move closer to civilization. We’re now renting a 3bd apartment in the city of Frisco, Texas and it’s honestly been fantastic.

3- Fantasy books bought because my co-worker suggested them as we have the same taste in books. I still haven’t read the first one because this guy promised me they were a complete trilogy but a frantic late night discovery on his part reveled that nope, it’s an ongoing series. I didn’t commit workplace violence by throwing one of the books at him but, it was a close thing.

2- New places visited and marked off my bucket list- Washington (specifically the Seattle and Olympic Natl. Park area) and Vancouver. To put it simply- I loved it. Like no exaggeration here, i’m already making plans to figure out how to move out of Texas and live somewhere in Washington permanently.

1- Work related goal completed. I doubt i’ve mentioned this before but my day job (the one that I was offered last year while I was on vacation in Germany) consists of working in Sales Ops as a Salesforce Administrator and in June I finally put  my money where my mouth was and took the certification exam- and thankfully passed! Its not the first certification i’ve gotten for a job but it certainly felt like the hardest.

8- parcels/letters sent. Outside of work and traveling, i’ve a giant procrastinator. This definetly applies to my love of snail-mailing and after coming back from the aforementioned trip to Seattle and Vancouver, I sat my butt down and put together a bunch of packages to send to friends and realized as I always do when I get back into it, that I love and miss snail-mailing.

2- Unexpected work related things that happened in June. My director ask me if i’d be interested in going to the yearly Salesforce conference  (Dreamforce!) thats held in San Francisco and after I said yeah sure, why not? got issued a company credit card. Neither of these should be taken as a not-so-subtle humble brag though, because after that happened I had a deep existential crisis about what the heck i’m doing with my life and decided escaping to the PNW for a couple of days with the bf would be a good way to clear my head.

4- Pairs of weird and cool pj pants bought- one has whales, the other dancing cactuses and the third happy ice cream cones. The last one had otters on it that I sent to my friend Julia (the one who is amazing and let me stay with her when I visited her in Germany last year) and if thats not a sign of affectionate friendship that transcends international borders, I don’t know what is.

Countless- Cheeseboards eaten (because thats what you get when you realize you can either make them yourself or easily order them in place of a meal especially when you’re stressed as all heck)

And so thats, more or less, a compendium of whats been up in the last 4 months. Ideally the goal is to start posting about the trip to Seattle + Vancouver here sometime soon, but at this time i’m also navigating work (and studying up for my next Salesforce certification that I want to take in September at the conference), working on polishing up a manuscript to shop around to agents (query letter hell here I come), trying to get back into my art and snail-mailing, oh and also planning my next trip to Europe at the end of November. I think I forgot to mention that in the list above so here-

2- Plane tickets about. One roundtrip ticket from Dallas–> London and one from Budapest to London. 3- Hotels booked so far- cities include: London, Prague, Budapest.

Yup. Life has not slowed down and if anything it’s looking to just keep getting more and more interesting but apart from needing cheeseboard and coffee breaks here and there, i’m enjoying it.

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

Monday Interlude- Frisco, Texas

monthly notebooks fablesandcoffee canyonlands art in process fablesandcoffee canyonlands art project in processFablesandcoffee at home

Its been a while hasn’t it?

Between work, plotting out and writing new stories, editing an old one (who says 100,000+ words aren’t fun to re-write?), making travel plans, and in general just trying to get through everyday life in the semblance of a mindful adult, this blog has been shuffled off to the side. If I follow your blog you’ve probably seen me go on liking sprees every so often, so at least i’ve been on here in some form, but my own post have been absent.

That should should hopefully be changing soon though! For one, i’ve got an art project i’ve pretty excited about as it’s a different landscape than I usually work with, inspired by the wonderful Canyonlands National Park in Utah and i’m excited to keep slowly chipping away at it. When it comes to journals and journalling, i’ve picked up the habit of using small ones for each month, as a way to keep goals and plans fresh and present in my mind. My regular art journal has been tucked away for a little bit since I unearthed the travel journal I used on the last trip and have started scribbling in it for future trips (which will be detailed soon…er…maybe). And last but not least in two short week I’ll be up in Colorado for a week long trip that i’m still sorta planning because it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t leave it till the last minute right?

Keeping it real with all the coffee available in North Texas,

~ M

p.s Yes that a Gudetama notebook (in the first pic )that the bf got me for Valentines day because he’s cursed with the kind of girlfriend that wants weird egg things as a show of romantic love. What I also truly very much wanted was a can of Flex Seal® (in clear) but I think that would have been a bridge to far for the guy and, I can respect that 

Art Journal Monday- We Are An Army That Breaks From Within

How is January almost over?

I feel like I blinked once, twice and by the third time the month had rushed on by. Any plans I had to wander around the DFW area this month have taken a backseat to art projects, catching up with friends, obsessing over Yuri!!! On Ice (and that last one was completely unexpected let me tell you), working on writing projects and getting my work out routine back on track.  Also tack on watching way too much HGTV with the bf and drinking so many fruit smoothies I’ll probably start having dreams of strawberries soon.

Music on Repeat:
Moscow- Autoheart
Goodnight Gotham- Rihanna
Nuvole bianche- Ludovico Einaudi
12 Violin Concertos, Op.4-“La stravaganza” Vivaldi (if you’ve about an hour or so to spare, give it a listen)
Prosthetic Love- Typhoon
We Don’t Eat- James Vincent McMorrow
Death of a Bachelor- Panic! At the Disco
Varúô- Sigur Rós

~m

Art Journal Monday- Burst of Yellow Warmth

fablesandcoffee art journal


art journal monday, January sunshine

For those of you that have never visited North Texas in the winter time, lucky you. I don’t make a habit of hating the weather- of all the things to waste energy on – but while i’ve come around to the frankly astonishingly temperamental weather patterns here in this lovely corner of the US of A, the winter time takes the cake. These past 2 weeks have been filled with heat and sunshine, thunderstorms, sleet and flurries of snow, humid rain and more cold snaps than anyone could count.

With that in mind, finding a sunny weekend afternoon to devote to art projects was an unexpected joy and I made the most it before I succumbed to laziness and the need to lounge on the couch.

Ambitions/Projects for this Week:
-Catching up on my snailmail (couple of posts coming up on that later on) and spending my lunch hours at work scribbling travel wishes to friends

– Re-writing a good chunk of my first effort at a modern fantasy novel, the Ocean Is Spilling. Which at this point is just me clicking around multiple screens on my laptop/display furiously and talking to myself in the car a lot.

– Finished up my Bastille inspired art piece (lyrics from their song “The Anchor” ) and sketching out some rough drafts of my next topography mountains piece

– Find a way to motivate myself to get my weekly workouts up from 2 a week to at least 4 (eventually the goal is to get up to 6 a week plus two extra on the weekends…this is perhaps a bit much for a person who still regularly takes the elevator up to the second floor instead of taking the stairs but hey, dream big yeah?)

Progress on the whole “reading more fiction books in 2017” thing: 
Since last year I read literally zero fiction books, preferring instead to drown myself in travel guides and economics, I decided to make it a resolution for myself to read more of them this year. That goal is…not going so great. So far out of the 4 books/graphic novels I had set myself to read for this month, i’ve only read Volume 4 of the Fables comic series by Bill Willingham and gone about a third of the way through The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. I still have Volume 5 of Fables and the Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman to read this month but unless I find the motivation to get through the Girl on the Train, not sure how likely it will be to finish those as well.

Playlist of the Week :

Not falling into my coffee cups yet,
~m

Bricks Contain Mercury, And Other Fun Roadtrip Hazards- Big Bend Natl. Park, TX



Gods this last post for this trip feels like it’s taken me an age and a day, good grief. More realistically, it’s been 2 months since this trip- it took place at the end of June and it’s now the end of August and i’m a month away from my next probably just as ill-advised roadtrip. But considering I picked up a lot of common sense knowledge from this trip, more so than even from the last roadtrip back in March, I don’t mind that it’s taken me this long to finally get it together enough to finally finish.

It took about 8 hours to drive from our house here in the Dallas area to the southern park of Texas that Big Bend is situated in, literally right on the border to Mexico. Considering the longest day drive me and the bf have done was the 17 hours to the Grand Canyon last March, this was a breeze. He drove the first part until we stopped in Abilene for lunch at a Denny’s (because of course you have to stop and have lunch at Denny’s) where I forgot how to count by fives when leaving a trip for our waitress with the hostess and she teasingly- but somehow still kindly- told me, “It’s alright honey, you’re pretty.” And let me tell you, if that wasn’t the best indicator of how the trip was gonna go, i’m not sure what else would have been.

The second leg of the drive was taken over by me and I managed to get us stopped by the sheriff not 5 seconds after driving into the town we were going to staying in, Alpine.  For once though, I can 100% guarantee I wasn’t actually speeding and was more than a little confused as to the reason we had gotten pulled over. According to the unfailingly nice and polite officer though, I had been speeding, but he let me off with just a warning. When I told a friend later about this, his immediate reaction was to say, “well it’s cause you’re a girl, and you’re pretty” and I just sat there thinking, maybe it had more to do with me being nice and meeting Texan politeness with my own brand of southern charm. Heavens knows I wasn’t much to look at that day, running on 4 hours of sleep, any makeup I started with already faded from the hours on the road and a questionable stain on my shirt from a breakfast of coffee and chips. And so, thats the best advise I can give you if you plan to travel in Texas, always be polite and just this side of guilelessly charming if you can manage it.





The biggest thing that I learned from the last roadtrip was to stop ruining my shoes and remember to always put on something that wasn’t flats when going out exploring. And I mean, thats probably such an obvious thing to anyone that isn’t me, but there you go. From this trip the most important thing I learned is that investing in a cooler when heading out on a full day of exploring is probably a good idea, or else suffer the slightly stroke-inducing prices at the parks general stores.

Heading into desert climate enviorments, make sure to bring something to cover your face when the winds start to pick up, especially if your heading out in the summer months. I got buffeted by scorching winds from all side and to say it was bracing would be the understatement of the year. After enduring this for the better part of 3 hours I finally found a sheer scarf in the back of the Jeep that I hadn’t seen in months, wrapped it around my head and shoulders and covered my mouth and nose as best as I could while running around like a crazed coyote among the cactuses and dust.

Jeep Renegade at Big Bend natl. park




Bring enough water, a car that can handle dirt, rock strewn “roads” and maybe don’t go hiking around abandoned mines at the hottest part of the day after driving in an air conditioned car for the past 5 hours. You might possibly get heat stroke and end up almost dying in a part of the park where cell reception is just a dream and the nearest ranger station is hours away. Just a kind suggestion, made from infinitely dumb experience.

Btw, just for reference that might be helpful, some symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweat despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness and/or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
( this is just to say, if this was a bingo card game, I would have cleaned up but good)




Also, another good piece of advice…..when visiting the park with the darkest nightsky in the lower 48, maybe don’t pick a weekend right before the full moon.  Just you know, a friendly suggestion.

Me and the bf ended up spending a good few hours getting buffeted by rough winds up alone on Sotol Vista point hoping for some darkness to glimpse some starry skies but in the end we packed up and headed out around 11pm back to Alpine. Another good piece of advice would be to remember that Big Bend is right on the border to Mexico, which means hello Border Patrol.

We got stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint around 12am and let me just say, that other piece of advice I gave up above, about being polite? Gotta say thats probably also a good thing to remember when/if you get stopped by the Border Patrol. They had us park the car, get out and sit on a bench nearby and then had an agent and his dog go through our car. I’m gonna go ahead and say they probably didn’t see us as the most likely transporters of drugs and/or humans considering the guy they assigned to stand near us while our car was being searched didn’t ask us if we had anything in our pockets until the bf took out his cell phone to check the time. And even then all the guy did was ask “er, you guys got anything else in your pockets?” and then comment on how hard it is to get service out there. The car search took maybe 10 minuets, after which they wished us a good night, helped me back my car out of the parking spot and waved us off into the night. Good times.



The drive back the next morning had us stopping at the Marfa Prada art installation and then listening to a couple of episodes of the Black Tapes before the bf drifted off to take a much needed nap and I switched to listening to 8tracks playlists to keep me going. We stopped at the most retro 50’s of rest stops a little past Odessa and I swear it was like stepping into a Fallout game that I almost expected there to be a Nuka Cola vending machine somewhere. It was an easy drive and we made it home by the evening, that strange feeling of being back in the suburbs and near the shining bright lights of Dallas after being gone in the literal boondocks of Texas settling over us.

All the ups and downs of the trip, all the unexpected joys and misadventures… I can with full honestly say the trip to Big Bend was unlike anything i’ve ever experienced before and it was more than worth the time and effort needed to get to such an out of the way place.And if you’ve plans to head out there, blow a kiss to the desert winds for me and tell the Sotol plants i’ll see them soon.

Masterlist of Big Bend posts:
#1 Unexpected Bears
#2 Old Maverick Rd.
#3 Mule Ears and East River Rd.
#4 Mariscal Mine
#5 Glen Spring Rd.
#6 Chisos Mountains and Bears
#7 Sotal Point Sunset
#8 Prada Marfa

~m