Sunday Coffee

An afternoon at the coffee shop while procrastinating on my future is helping me….procrastinate.

There is a couple on a first date. They sound as though they are both on interviews. Each taking their turn talking about the “year’s” they’ve spent honing their professional crafts. They are maybe 30 so I wonder how they’d describe these same stories in 10, 20 years from now. These young adults are our future.

What does life do to us? Experience shapes how we tell a same story from one decade to the next.

What was funny, or smart, or classy or important in our 20’s, isn’t so funny, smart or classy and important in our 30’s and as I imagine our 40’s, 50’s or 60’s – I have yet to arrive!

We mimic. We observe. We try on other people’s stories. We jump into life and we learn. Our beliefs sometimes shift or become more entrenched.

We learn to take ourselves a little less seriously.

Life is good.

Coffee is great 🙂

A Famished Runner

Besides motivating me to get out and run, one thing I like about my running group is they are committed to their coffee.

Who wouldn’t want to join a group of solid runners committed to their coffee and on some runs, brunch.

Today’s run started and ended at the coffee shop.

It is a coffee shop.

It has the basics of a coffee shop. Coffee, a small selection of muffins, sandwiches and cookies. However, it is also an eco-friendly coffee shop and they sell local organic diary products like milk and eggs.

One of the runners arrived back from the run famished.

He waited in line at the cash for his turn, twisting and turning. When it was his turn he leaned in and asked the barista, “Do you have any eggs?”

The barista innocently replied, “I can sell you a dozen eggs if you’d like.”

I almost died laughing, imagining this famished runner, sipping his coffee with a bucket of a dozen raw eggs sitting in front of him.

His hunger neglected.

He passed on the dozen raw eggs.

Thought Bubble

Sitting in Starbucks. There is a steady din of people quietly having conversations. The occasional sound of a chair scraping against the floor.

I am sitting facing the magazine section of Chapters.

A distinguished older gentleman catches my eye. He intrigues me not because of his gender. He is standing facing the window. The magazine he is flipping through is perched up on a book bin.

He flips the page, reads a few lines, pauses, looks up and gazes out the window to the parking lot. Repeat.

I am not so curious to talk to him, more curious about finding a way to transport myself to a similar, assumably, quiet, calm, thought bubble.

Wednesday Blues…or is it Pink

IMG_20150304_220903I could write a post all about my cruddy Wednesday and extend it back to when it all started…MONDAY! But nobody’s died and the Monday Blues that have found their way to Wednesday need to be sent packing.

After 8, 9, 10 hours of working on a document, Veronica Mars playing in the background (seriously, try it, ok it is a teen series BUT it’s a great non-distracting distraction!) and in need of interaction, I traded my sweats for worthy jeans and off to Chapters/Starbucks I went.

Standing in front of the show-case display, I noticed the goodies in front of me were new. Mmmm, cranberry lemon scone, sitting on top of a nice pink display paper. I moved to the cash. Oh, her apron is PINK too. So are the menu boards hanging up on the wall.

What’s with all the pink? Where’s the green?

I placed my order, paid and moved to the end of the bar to wait for my drink. The barista handed me my hot drink and I asked him about all the pink.

“It’s in celebration of the launch of ‘La Boulanger’ our new line”

“Oh cool” and I absently stated “Pink’s a nice feminine colour!”

He was going to have none of that! He straightened up his back and defended, “Pink is just as Manly a colour as it is Feminine!”

Yes sir 🙂

Valentines Weekend Coffee

A real weekend isn’t complete without at least one trip to the coffee shop.

What could be better than sitting in the bay window of the shop, enjoying a quiet moment, sipping my coffee?

Well of course the only obvious answer: having a random conversation with another patron.

Trust me, I mind my own business while in the coffee shop and this particular day I was busy writing a personal note to myself.  Something along the lines of: “while coaching my students on being faced with possible failure, what is worse, the fear of failure or the failure itself – and here I am sitting sipping coffee more concerned of failure itself.” I don’t know where that thought was going because I was interrupted by an older gentleman.

“May I sit in this chair?”

“Why of course,” and I turned back to my tablet in an attempt to finish my grand thought when I was interrupted a second time.

He wasn’t about to sit there across from me and let me “play around” on my tablet while I could have a real conversation with a real human being and not my conscious mind.

And so there I sat conversing with a man, a recent retiree who has figured out how to have the best of both worlds.  He told me stories of his adventures and at some point I believe it turned into a game of how much he could make me laugh, my sides hurting, me twisting in my chair to alleviate the discomfort of sore abdominal muscles.

In any event he told me of sweet Maria, the Brazilian, so classy, to be clear – not sluty.

“You know, similar to Sônia Braga,” he paused “who was linked to Robert Redford, Maria has that same…” he twisted his lips into a pout as he thought of an appropriate descriptive word.  I wanted to blurt out “sensual” but I was intrigued by how he made his lips form a perfect rectangle.

‘How does he do it?’ I thought distractedly, ‘Does he practise this in the mirror? Is it genetic?’

He found his word and proclaimed “Sensual!”

He paused a moment looking up to the ceiling.  He nodded yes, agreeing with himself, then re-formed his lips into a perfect rectangle and said once again with confidence and all the passion he could muster, “Sensual, she is s-e-n-s-u-a-l.” he dragged it out.

And there you have it, sweet Maria, the Brazilian who would remind you of Sônia Braga, is classy AND unbelievably s-e-n-s-u-a-l.

The Conversation

Discussing Jian Gomeshi makes me feel so angry inside.

Today at the coffee shop an older gentleman needed access to some wall charts behind me.

He respectfully stood quietly in front of me waiting for an opportune time to interrupt my reading.

”Excuse me miss, I don’t need you to move but want to let you know I am going to reach past you to write on the wall charts.” He paused and added, “I want to let you know what I am doing so you don’t think I am going all ‘Gomeshi’ on you.”

Immediately I felt a happy sadness. I wanted to stand up and give him a hug but of course I didn’t.

l smiled and thanked him and went back to reading but he wasn’t done. He was compelled to talk about how he felt about the situation. He felt sad and angry that women didn’t feel they could have come forward “the day after or even the night it happened.”

l smiled, weary. What of value could l share, from woman’s point of view, with this stranger? Most of us have a story or know of a story to tell but telling it publicly doesn’t always have a positive outcome.

l simply acknowledge his statement and reply, “Yes, it’s complicated.”

Armed with my non- answer, he answers his own question, “I suppose the cops don’t always believe the women so that’s probably why.”

Perhaps he catches my hesitation, I certainly wasn’t prepared for this discussion and we agree to end the conversation there.

I am thankful we are openly acknowledging and having tough conversations about a real issue that transcends Jian Gomeshi and the CBC.

A Saturday Morning

A Saturday Morning

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I have come to the coffee shop to concentrate on some work that needs doing.

There is a man with his two children, a girl around 9 and a boy about 7, sitting in the back section with me.

The girl chose to sit by herself at one of the bar tables. She is entertaining herself by blowing up a paper bag and repeatedly hitting her fist against the air bulge at the bottom of the bag.

Surprisingly the bag is still intact.

Dad is sitting with his boy on the old church pews. They are having a spirited discussion in a language I do not recognize or understand.

l love this coffee shop even if I am distracted.

Errands with my niece, “The Best Day of My Life!”

Today was an errand running kind of day and my nine year-old niece was along for the ride.

Our first stop was Claire’s, a fashion and jewelry accessories store for girls, where my niece picked out a princess tiara, promptly placing it on her head as we left the store.

Our second stop was Starbucks.

My niece chose a kids sized hot chocolate paired with a pumpkin shaped sugar cookie.

We waited at the bar for our drinks. When the drinks were called out and pushed across the counter my niece noticed the top of her drink, “This is the best day of my life!! Nobody has ever put chocolate sauce on the top of my drink before!”

We stayed in the coffee shop to enjoy our beverages, that’s what grownups do.

She chose the bar seats and clambered up on her stool so she could watch the barista’s preparing drinks, “It’s hard to keep up with what they are doing, there are so many of them and so many coffees to make!”

Also published at Medium.com

Little Big Guy Coffee

Little Big Guy Coffee

wpid-20140310_121341.jpgThis weekend I visited a new coffee shop on Lakeshore West, New Toronto to be specific. It was suggested to me a month or so ago by a local business owner who was adamant the coffee shop was a “super friendly”, “really nice” and “the best on Lakeshore West”. I didn’t want to argue, I have my bias, and instead made a mental note to check it out…one day.

I’ve driven by it a few times on my way to work. I’d slow down and peer towards the store in an effort to distinguish from my driver’s seat whether it was worthy of a “stop-and-see”. To be honest, it never looked open.

I decided this weekend was as good as any time to try it out and instead of turning right onto Lakeshore, I turned left.

As I walk towards the store it continued to look closed with the exception of the two jolly ladies sitting on chairs on the sidewalk directly in front of the shop. There are two doors to this coffee shop, one is for decoration, and the other is the actual door. Unlike regular doors of stores, this one had a door knob at the same level as my ears (or so it seemed) with a little sign above that says “pull”.

I pulled, the door opened and there I was standing inside the coffee shop. The room isn’t very big. There are 2 or 3 mismatched tables with mismatched chairs. Halfway along the left wall is a doorway that leads to the second side of the shop, the side that belongs to the door that isn’t meant to be opened.

Along the back of the first side of the shop is the coffee bar. Not one that you might expect, a low counter that crosses the width of the shop with nothing to distinguish it from a regular counter in a kitchen. It reminds me of a table at a fair where people showcase their goods.

Behind the bar is a large man. He is friendly just like the lady said he’d be. I ordered a “mostly-dark-roast” coffee and crossed to the second room to the left. There are more tables and chairs in this room.

An old drafting table with an array of counter and bar height chairs, a long interesting wooden table from an 18th century pub house (not really), including a bench that ran the length of the table, some leather chairs and regular height tables and more mismatched chairs.

The small metal encased radio sits on a corner shelf that is filled with books, pens, pencils and paper. Some of the pencils are loose, rolling around the floor. I’ve arrived in someone’s kitchen in an old farm house where I can put my feet up, fart and just be. The atmosphere is welcoming for sure with the 1980’s radio was blaring out 1980’s tunes, it’s antenna reaching for the ceiling.

The shop has a musty smell, a mix of old deodorant, unwashed hair and dirt stuck to the base boards. It may be the two older gentle men sitting at the front who are busy banging on the window, making faces and hand gestures to the women sitting outside, I can’t be sure.

Friendly, cosy, smelly, delicious coffee.

With a some cleaning TLC, a fresh coat of paint, an update to the entrance, a coffee bar that isn’t so confusing, I could then call it a hidden intimate gem, good for farting around 🙂

Breakfast at Tim Hortons

Breakfast at Tim Hortons

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I like making my own breakfast in the morning for a variety of reasons:

1. It’s the cheapest and quickest

2. It gives me the satisfaction that I’ve accomplished something, even before I step out the front door. If I do nothing else in the day, I know I did something important. 😊

This morning I skipped my breakfast making routine in an effort to make it on-time for an early meeting at work. I didn’t make it on-time, for the third time in less than 7 working days. Groan. It’s those meetings where crawling into the room and hiding under the table is likely the best option. I didn’t do that, but I did arrive late.

It’s in these instances of lateness I must decide which actor to play; it’s a coin toss on:

a) Give puppy dog eyes, make eye contact with the most important person in the room and look for an emotional connection that surely they’ve experienced by:
i. Blaming the traffic
ii. Blaming my pillow for not letting go
iii. Blaming a family emergency

b) Make no-eye contact, hunched shoulders, find an inconspicuous chair at the back

c) Make eye contact with everyone in the room, be unapologetic and dare anyone in the room to challenge your lateness. This one you really need a snappy response in mind in case your bluff is called. Usually you only do this one when you know there isn’t anyone in the room brave enough to say anything. Is this a bullying tactic or just good strategy, I don’t know.

d) A combination of the above 3.

Regardless, once I guiltily sat myself down on the only available chair at the front of the boardroom table, I found myself sitting directly across from a coworker who evidently not only arrived on-time but had enough wiggle room to wait in a Tim Hortons’ early-morning-rush-line.

If you’ve never been in a Tim Hortons’ early-morning-rush-line, let’s suffice to say it’s a nail biting, stressful way to start a day. You can’t control what the 4th person in front of you is going to decide to order that will hold the line up for a good 15 minutes. And when you are trying to get somewhere on-time, it feels more like 60 minutes and that your life might actually end!!

My stomach was rumbling throughout the entire 2 hour meeting. Well, 1 hour and 45 minutes for me. 🙂

When we were let out, I dashed back to my desk and promised myself a treat, I was going to Tim Hortons to buy myself breakfast.

And here is how it goes when I go to Tim Hortons for breakfast:

First off the server at the counter had a really sour face and that instantly threw my ordering off. It was distracting.

“Why were they so grumpy?” “What did I do to them?” “Ok, ok, don’t take this personally,” I self-talked myself, “It’s past 9am, they should have had their coffee by now, what’s their excuse?” and that’s when I notice their face is getting a little more sour and revert to ”I am making them sour, it is me!! Ok ok, I gotta order fast

“I’ll have a…” I stumble on my words, what do they call these buns I see on the menu, “I’ll have a McM…,” no, no, no, no that’s McDonald’s silly….thinking, thinking, thinking, what do they call those silly buns, the first meal on the menu that’s what I want but I don’t want that kind of bun, oh look there is the bun I want and they have a number beside it, “I’ll have number 3,” I finish. Phew.

“You want the egg white breakfast sandwich.” The sour server informed me.

“No, no, no,” I feel stumped. That’s not what I want and I try again, “I want the full egg on a…,” again I can’t think of what that damn bun is called, “on a McM…,” and I catch myself again, this isn’t McDonalds and that is when the second server came to the recuse.

“She wants a breakfast sandwich number 1 on an English Muffin,” and she looks at me and continues, “Do you want bacon, sausage or ham?”

And that my friends, is the real reason why I choose to make my own breakfast in the morning.