The Toronto Blizzard…

The Toronto Blizzard…

IMG-20130208-01056.jpgThere’s a blizzard happening in Toronto. No the army hasn’t been called in…yet!

After my work laptop ran out of battery and my boss negotiated with me NOT to drive in to work; I decided the best way to fill the wintery afternoon would be a walk in the winter wonderland.

Deciding that I was able to survive many summer walks to the coffee shop, I might as well attempt it during a blizzard.

What I can confirm about Toronto blizzards is:

1. Men in sidewalk snowplows really are gentlemen. I swear he knew where I was going and went out of his way to make sure my path was cleared. Thank you.

2. Snow, and lots of it, gives people something to talk about. They laugh, they smile and they talk to complete strangers! We need more snow days.

3. Just because it’s a snow day doesn’t mean you can take up space in the coffee shop. “People treat that chair at the front of the coffee shop like it’s their living room or something. Now I am going to have to go find another perch or so the exasperated grumpy old man loudly told the barista when he saw me sitting in what I can imagine must be his regular Friday afternoon reading spot. This could have been Horrible Joe but he was too Horrible for me to bother asking 🙂

The Second Act….to clutz of the day

The second act, as funny as the first? Well sort of, you be the judge. Perhaps it is more about myself and less about him, but either way, it is turning out to be a good story, at least in my head.

I am a curious person, meet me and you’ll know. If there is something to be found out, I will find it. I’ve tried to send my curiousity to a corner to sit and be ignored, but in the end it wins out.

I had to find out. Off I went to the coffee shop.

I wasn’t certain I’d recognize him, he is good looking but there wasn’t anything remarkable that would easily distinguish him from a crowd of other good looking men. If I had to choose him from a line-up of European soccer players, trust me, I wasn’t sure I’d pick the right one.

There I stood, chatting on the phone with a good friend waiting for my drink when a hand thrust in front of me. Looking down was a fist full of …. serviettes. I didn’t need to spot him because he spotted me. And true to his obvious good nature, was providing me with the tools needed to clean up my own mess this time!

Thoughtful! LOL

I smiled, mouthed “Thank YOU!” and took the wad of serviettes and continued talking to my friend.

He turned around to walk away and that is, my friends, when I recognized him.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a line-up of soccer players by mug shots but I could by his body and I bet you are dying to know why!

I knew him! I’ve known him for at least a year. I didn’t know anything about him necessarily during the year, but I recognized him and not because of his good looks. I recognized him by his backside (you best be busting a gut right now in laughter, because I am!!). A year ago I had pointed him out to a few close friends – declaring “He’s HOT!” But that is where it stayed. He’s been my secret crush for over a year and now it’s him who’s making me blush everytime I turn around.

Did we chat?

Ofcourse. And being true to my nature I know more about him than he does about me :).

By the end he gave in and declared “I feel like this is an interview!” and then proceeded to treat it as such.

What do I know? Enough for now. If anything I have met a new friend who shares my love of books, travel, history and humour.

Clutz of the day award goes to…

Clutz of the day award goes to…

IMG-20130127-01053.jpgMoi!

I accept it while gracefully falling over myself as I stumble across the stage.

It’s Sunday. I love Sunday’s. I get to spend them by myself doing things I want to do without feeling guilty.

One of those things I love doing is drinking a coffee in a crowded coffee shop while reading a book.

When I arrived the shop was full. I figured I’d order my drink and hopefully by the time it was ready, I’d have a seat.

I noticed this one particular gentlemanly good looking man hovering around and caught him looking in my direction. Now believe it or not, I am super shy when it comes to men I think are remotely attractive. And even more shy and clutzy when I assume they might be watching me.

I turned my back, usual procedure for me when I don’t know what to do, am I really +30 and still acting 12 :). Yes I am.

I waited for my drink to be made and I noticed a table had emptied.

It wasn’t the usual normal two person table, it was the giant wheelchair accessible table. I had no shame, I really wanted to spend a solid hour reading my book and if that was my table, then that was my destiny for an hour.

I rushed over to secure my spot, got myself settled. Coffee to my right, glass of water to my left and my book in front of me. I was ready.

cosmo for blogEverything was going to plan when I decided a nice sip of water would be a great idea and that’s when my nervous clutz came for a visit.

My cup of water flipped on it’s side and water was all over the table, my book, the magazine that had been left by someone else, my pants, my coat and my purse.

I was so embarrassed and froze staring soaking wet at the little pond on the table in front of me. Not daring to turn around to see who might have caught my embarrassment.

I stood up and started brushing the waterfall of water off my pants.

I turned to go get some serviettes and there he stood, his arm extended holding a fist full of serviettes.

“Here you are”.

“Thank you,” I responded my face going beat red, “Not only am I hogging the biggest table here, I’ve managed to make a mess!”

He started helping me soak up the water.

“Yes well, you are at the handicap table, but that seems reasonable with your situation. Don’t worry, nobody else noticed, you’re ok.” he responded.

I lamented my wet book.

“Well you didn’t buy it yet did you?”

“Oh I bought it, it’s mine and it’s now drenched.”

“What book are you reading?”

“Hillary Clinton’s, Living History.”

“And is this your Cosmopolitan as well?”

I laughed nervously and replied truthfully, “No”

“Well I was going to say that would be pretty ironic that you’d be reading both about Hillary and The Sex He Wants…But Do You?”.

I couldn’t hold my laughter.

“You are welcome to share my giant table,” I offered

“That would be great, I am waiting for someone but in the mean time, I’ll take you up on your offer,” and he disappeared.

That was curious I thought but within minutes he was back with a replacement cup of water.

Now he was just out doing himself!

Good looking, generous, clever and hilarious all in one.

The Unsuspecting Coffee Shop Philanthropist

Ya’ll know how much I like my coffee shop. How proud I am of my personal “account” at my coffee shop. It’s the little things that make me extremely happy!

Over the holiday’s I had the luxury of vising my shop on weekdays and it is the weekday’s that are the most exciting at the coffee shop.

On this particular Thursday morning, I arrived at the shop, excited for my weekday visit.

I was the second in line. The lady in front of me was giddy. She was bringing her friend out for a coffee and she was using her account. I can’t say for certain, but I like to believe the reason she was taking her friend out for coffee was for the simple fact that she had an account! Everyone who has an account wants to show it off, trust me 🙂

The lady behind the counter rings up the order deducts from the account and says, “Ma’am you owe $1.30.”

The woman looked at the barista confused.

“You don’t have enough on your account ma’am; you still owe us $1.30.”

Hmmmm, the lady looks down at her breakfast cookie that she’d just taken a bite from and looks up, “That’s too bad, I would suggest giving back my breakfast cookie but I just took a bite.” She looked disappointed. After another few months she comes up with a great idea, “Well can you make my drink a small instead of a medium?”

“Sure,” responds the barista and she changes the order, “however now you owe us .54 cents.”

“Could I just pay you next time I am in?” the lady asks.

“Unfortunately, no.”

Being second in line, wondering how long this was going to last, I started to sift through my wallet, I was sure I had $1.30, even .54 cents to cover the cost. In my opinion a small fee to pay in order to get my own drink a little quicker.

The lady twisted and turned, looked up and down in her discomfort of not knowing what to do. She then came up with a grand idea and spun around to face me. She looked in my eyes then down to my hands that were rummaging around in my wallet and she declared, “You read my mind, I was just going to ask you to pay for my coffee.”

You’d think she’d stop there but no, there was more on her mind.

“It’s your day. It’s your day to pay-it-forward. This is meant to be. Everyone needs to pay-it-forward and this is your day!!” She said with such enthusiasm.

I gritted my teeth, smiled at this most bizarre woman. I had exactly $1.30 and I really didn’t want more change in my wallet, I handed the barista the exact change and said, “Just make her the medium drink.”

The lady turned to me again and asked my name.

Why does she need my name, I thought but I blurted it out anyhow. “It’s Dawnafaye.”

“Dawna,” big pause, “HAY,?” she declared.

“No, it’s Dawna……..FAYE,” and I made sure to enunciate the Faye as best I could.

“Ohhhhhhh, Dawnafaye!!!!”

She turned to her friend and announced, “What an unusual name, have you heard of such and oddddd name!!!”

I stood there shocked; did I really just pay for this ladies coffee?!

Oh Panama How I Miss You

Oh Panama How I Miss You

IMG-20121130-00925

It’s an adjustment getting back from being away and there are a few things I miss….quite a bit.

List of things I miss:

1. Jello as a dessert after lunch.

2. Cafe latte’s from the lobby bar.

3. Nightly entertainment in a language Yo No Comprendo! I did however understand that that one night the dancer’s were performing a rendition of S&M from someone’s bedroom. Am I really sitting amoungst a PG-13 crowd? What kind of resort AM I REALLY AT!

IMG-20121130-00932
4. Karaoke, again in a language I do not understand and more importantly a French-Canadian duet of “Lady in Red” ….. ahhhhh

5. Climbing palm trees.

6. Bathroom tissue with a mild baby powder scent. It exists. Odd.

7. Greek style lamb stew.

8. Eating bun-less hamburgers overloaded with salsa.

IMG-20121130-009199. The not so well stocked Lobby Library

10. The rain. Rain on vacation is not the worst that can happen. Being beat-up by an ATV is much worse.

11. The stairs, so many many stairs.

And most of all,

11. Being disconnected.

The would-be Kamikaze Grandma and her Scooter

Today I made my way to the coffee shop after a number of days reprieve. It wasn’t planned that way, just some times life gets in the way of me and my coffee shop! 😦

Today is the first time ever I have helped someone on a scooter cross the road. Normally they are trying to run me down on the sidewalk while weaving around pedestrians.

I have always wondered at these power scooters that are sometimes spotted driving on the road pretending to be a real automobile. We are confused enough about where road bikes fit into traffic and now we have an infestation of confident scooters darting here and there. Owning the roads, side walks and bike lanes, ignoring road rules, cloaked in their capes of invisibility.

So I was mightily amused when a 60-something woman sitting on her scooter pulled up alongside me and asked for my help.

We were waiting for the traffic lights to change and she asked me,

“Do you think I’ll be able to make it across the street car tracks and over that metal grate sitting an inch higher than the pavement?”

I looked down at her scooter to see the size of the wheels and replied, “Oh I am sure you’ll be fine and if you have any doubts my suggestion would be to take a good fast run at it – I am sure you’ll make it over.”

She chuckled, “I’ll see how this goes, do you mind staying with me while I cross?”

I agreed to stick with her and we started across the street at a fair clip – I was lightly jogging. I was curious to see what she’d do, continue her speed or slow down.

As we got closer to the grate she slowed down, turned to me and said, “I am just really too tentative to go that fast.” and slowing to a snails pace, moved her scooter over the metal grate.

She made it to the south side walk, thanked me, turned and off she “scooted” to her destination.

Now I am left wondering if she hadn’t of slowed down and turned out to be the kamikaze grandma I was hoping she’d be, what if the scooter had of tipped over? Seriously what would I have done. Catch the scooter in mid-air?

Better she didn’t take my advice for both hers and my safety 🙂

My morning muffin

My morning muffin

I feel guilty eating my banana nut muffin this morning. As I sit here outside, minding my own business, writing, there is a flock of 30 or more small birds hanging out on the patio stone. They get so close that by moving an inch I would undoubtedly touch them.

This birds are sitting around me picking up the little crumbs that are falling to the ground. I admit I am a messy eater! Isn’t food suppose to be enjoyed all messy instead of neat and tidy 🙂

The little brown birds make my heart swell and I have no idea why. I guess perhaps it’s this bizarre connection with nature, one I didn’t go seeking out.

A seemingly inconsequential simple pleasure and it made me smile; sharing my morning muffin!

A Rainy Monday Morning

A Rainy Monday Morning

Photo from Photobotos, titled: Edge of the world Faroe island town.

The coffee shop this morning is teeming with people. I can’t believe my luck!

There is nothing greater than traipsing through drizzling cool weather to the coffee shop, book in hand only to find when I arrive that the only seat available is bar table in the back of the shop.

The coffee shop is alive and not to be dramatic it makes me want to cry, a happy little cry.

It feels great to sit here with background chatter of strangers I do not know, read my book and savour my cup of coffee.

One group of women are discussing life, positive change, living a healthy life and success. Another group is practising their interview skills. There is a gentleman quietly reading a hard covered book as thick as mine and I am curious if he hears the conversations around him.

This is living.

At the Coffee Shop: I am THAT creep!

Today island music is blaring from the medium sized speaker hanging in the corner of the coffee shop. It is making my heart-ache for the Bajan sun, beach and hospitality and a conversation with my grandfather.

I am not sure why Barbados reminds me of my grandfather. There is NOTHING tangible that tie these two entities together.

Not music, not beaches, not the sun – nothing. I remember once going to the beach with my grandfather, he wore beige swimming trunks and demonstrated his ability to float in Lake Huron – as a nine year-old it was spectacular!

My grandfather, in my mind, was really a hobby farmer. He made money off his crops and had a drive-shed full of countless combines, but he always struck me more of a collector of things than an actual farmer.

Today sitting drinking coffee and reading about US politics I spot an older gentleman sitting at one of the tables on a church pew.

He has a zillion pieces of paper sprawled out in front of him and he is madly scribbling away. Once he finishes scribbling on one sheet, he folds it neatly and moves on to the next.

I am sitting here trying to imagine what is on the pieces of paper and what is he scribbling about?

And maybe this is why I am missing my grandfather at this particular moment.

My older gentleman has his pants pulled up at the back so he almost has a weggie with the front of his pants neatly tucked under his round belly. Its not a floppy fold-over belly, just a taught round belly that if you poked it, your finger would bounce back instead of pushing deeper into squishy flesh.

He is wearing a yellow dress shirt with only the top button undone. It looks as though it’s been worn well and washed many times before. Perhaps his favourite shirt.

Who knows, but besides being 5 inches shorter than my grandfather, he reminds me of him and I desperately want to go and talk to him.

I am that creep in the corner watching him intently deciding whether or not to initiate a conversation. What would we talk about?

The fluctuating stock market? Speculation? Sustainability of green energy? Precious metal prices? His soya-bean crop (he probably doesn’t have one!)? His collection of stuff? Or maybe a project he’s been working on for the last decade but can’t seem to finish?

I am pretty confident that whatever the conversation, he’d find something to say to make me laugh and challenge his or my viewpoint on life.

Today I miss my grandfather, and his soya-beans, his fascination with the Model-T Ford, the cobwebs and flies collecting in the window sills on the second floor, the old white bedspread dotted with small-tight tufts of thread, the honey tins, the disintegrating books in the attic, the leather bound ledgers with debts and payments, the old red wagon, the mulberry bush beside the barn, seeing mice scatter when you open the old pig-pen door, the silver dollar bushes (are they bushes or plants!?!), tomato sandwich’s with cheese, boiling milk-weed and other miscellaneous plants to eat, shopping at the K and quizzing him on food prices, visiting auction barns together and conversation about life.

What do you miss about a close someone?

First Ride on my Bike-On-Loan

First Ride on my Bike-On-Loan

My desire to go whirling down the road faster than a jog won out over my fear of getting on a bike after all.

My maiden voyage on the bike was thrilling. I got home from work one early morning and sat on my couch – inspecting the bike.

Wondering if I remembered how to ride.

The tires, quite frankly, frightened me. I had agreed to the slicks on the sole basis that I would be able to go faster with less effort. Call me lazy!!!

I felt panicked and wondered how I would fare on such tires. After googling racing tire’s I felt better that I didn’t need to be an expert to keep from falling off.

The investigation exercise, which I’ve recently learned is actually called AIDA, exhausted my energy. So I kept sitting on my couch and watched a movie Of course all in the name of settling my heart rate before attempting the ride :).

By 3pm I was feeling calm and carried the bike down the 10 flights of stairs to the driveway.

The ride to the coffee shop was a little nerve racking. I had to dodge pebbles, stones, sand, pot holes and a short strip of sidewalk. I was starting to reconsider my calmness by the time I got to the coffee shop.

I had my second panic attack upon arriving. As much as I was nervous of the tires, I didn’t want the bike stolen. I looked around for a place to lock it up – I was sufficiently lost.

The amused older gentleman on the back patio kindly pointed out the bike rack that was blaringly obvious!!! I locked up and went in to get my coffee.

Coffee – check
Bike – check
Tires still inflated – check

With renewed confidence I set off on the Lakeshore trail bound for the big TO. Halfway in to town I realized I didn’t have the portable bike pump, what if I suddenly experienced a flat!?!?!?

Abandoning my trek, I turned around and headed home.