Strange Times, & a House

Inspired by my friend here in this blogosphere ‘Star On The Forehead’, who is curious about the house I live in! A place, where I’ve been ‘isolating’ myself from the world. I’ve finally gotten myself, to write a post…

I thank her in advance.

* * *

– Star On The Forehead: ‘I always wanted to ask if that house in the picture was yours. Now I know 🙂

I am curious on the the history of it, perhaps you have written about it and I had missed it.

I love the look of it and keep imagining what is like inside, tall ceiling? exposed beams?’

* * *

Prior to all this craziness, I used to joke to those who knew me: I can write (anyone) a manual, on ‘how to survive in complete solitude’.

However, now, I realize, if I am equipped to deal with this social distancing, others may not be!

Here’s my story:

6 years ago, my life drastically changed.

From running and managing a bustling café, where I was known to work 12 hour shifts… straight to the end! And where, I’d forget to eat, or even take a sip of water sometimes! Yes we were that busy! Lineups all the way to the door! We were go go go!

I worked my body to the grounds! And ended up in the hospital, severely dehydrated and just not well! And it was, scary.

I thought I was invincible! I guess I wasn’t?! The answer of course, none of us are! No matter how strong we may feel.

Add to this, my spouse at the time, grew tired of my long working hours! Then, one evening, the words were ‘Me! Or your business?! You choose! I’m done! I did not get married to spend my weekends alone in an empty house’.

So, I gave up.

I was so, tired. Of everything! My body was crumbling. The fights after I got home, were intensifying! So I finally decided.. ‘I give up’.

We moved to the forest right after. And I, had to say goodbye to the best job I’d ever had!

I loved my work. I loved my customers! And they have stuck with me even after I closed our doors, and moved to this secluded forest in the country 40 minutes away.

However, the solutitude? After all those years of constant interactions with the public, making amazing friends along the way, being a happy place to so many who used to drop by to interact with our amazing staff! Was hard on me.

I spent my first year in this quiet forest, wondering..‘what have I done?!!’

* * *

Now, the story of how I found this house, that I live into now!

We were with our realtor at the time, entering this very strange…pyramid house.

Our realtor, apologetically, had declared ‘..The owner, wants to be in the house, to explain its features’.

We didn’t mind. Although, we did realize, some won’t be as thrilled with the idea!

Let’s say, it was a good sunny day, and my spouse and I, were…feeling accommodating!..I guess.

Ian, a tall older architect, and the original owner of the house, pensively yet obviously (feeling very proud)..showed us around.

After a few minutes, I recognized the architectural design and style of the unique house, resembling a public library in the city.

So, I declared as I was still looking around ‘I feel like I recognize this design! It reminds of *** Public Library!’

Ian, stopped, and for the first time since we entered, Ian cracked a wide smile..paused..then proudly responded ‘I designed that library’!

Imagine our shock!

And that was it. Ian decided, we should get the house. He didn’t care for other buyers.

Apparently, it turned out, he was growing tired of potential buyers, not appreciating the house.

And the rest is history.

So yah, it’s been over 5 years going on 6. And now?! I know, I know…what works! And I also know what doesn’t! In this 4 story ‘weird’ pyramid house, surrounded by forest.

Stay safe, and remember I’m here if anyone needs a (human), to say: Hey, you are not alone, period. I got you.

Mrs. Carr

My neighbour, years ago, in Windsor Park/Calgary, was a small lady in her late 70s.

Mrs. Carr.

Mrs. Carr, was always cheerful! Always working in her garden.

A garden not bigger than 15’x20’! However, Mrs. Carr, had it meticulously divided, and admiringly planted, with: zucchini, potato, carrots, peas, beets, turnip and rhubarb!

Neighbours’ kids used to raid her garden at night, and she.. knew!

How did she know?! Evidence from a previous night’s misconduct, was all usually scattered along her neighbours’ lawns in the morning. Discarded of carrot tops, dilapidated rhubarb leaves..you get the picture.

Mrs. Carr, did not complain to the parents. And when she used to come for a visit, knocking on my door, on those early summer evenings, proudly carrying a ginormous potato 🥔 between her hands! I’d ask her about it! And she used to simply shrug it off and say ‘that’s what the garden is there for 😊’.

As for I, and in exchange for Mrs. Carr’s generous gifts from the garden, I remember, the one evening, when she spotted a few mason jars that I had repurposed, on a shelf in my kitchen. I had added autumn leaves to some, and Mrs. Carr, thought that was the most artful thing she’d ever seen! However, knowing her, I believe, she appreciated the practicality, more than esthetics! So I gifted her some.

This repurposed mason jar I kept, and which I regularly use to this day, is a sweet reminder, of Mrs. Carr’s generosity! But not only just her generosity! It’s a reminder, of the sweet simplicity of life, which we all need to perhaps, become coincided with…these days.

Mrs. Carr, worked hard in her little garden. All while_to my own personal astonishment when I first met her_ her hair, was all curled up with pink hair rollers! I will never forget that picture!

She was, simple, generous, petite, incredibly hard working, always smiling and she also…smoked like a chimney!

I am glad I am reminded of her today. And I hope, learning of her, brings a little uplifting vibe, to your day too! 🍂

Coco

What do I LOVE to do when I’m not roasting coffee?! Spending hours training dogs!

And when an 85 lb spunky German Shepard pup, starts listening to my cues, becoming connected to my energy and her and I become one?! I feel on top of the world.

It took a lot of work to train this pup! We started with her behaving so unruly I nearly quit! She pulled and trust me, she’s very, very strong!

Then, realizing, if I was her, I’d be pulling too! I’d want to sniff and pull to meet this dog on the path and and..!

So I put myself in her shoes (paws in this case), and I imagined, what would ‘I’ want, if I was her?!

And now? I wish you could see her:

She ignores triggers. And all I do? Is address her calmly. While walking. No shift in ‘my’ energy. No change or tensing up on my part, when we encounter triggers. Just, a consistent quiet voice. As we continue walking. Consistency is key. ‘Trusting’ is another key. She finally?! Gets it! I cannot believe it!

Dogs are my love. Coffee first, then dogs.

Have an amazing weekend! Cheers

It’s A Tea Day

I watched, ‘ Phantom Thread’ last night!

In the movie, a genius dressmaker, drinks Lapsang Souchang! And as I was watching, I remembered, how much, I used to love that tea. It is smokey! But I never seemed to mind! In fact, as I just mentioned…I used to love it!

After coffee this am, I knew…it was tea time.

I made myself, a pot of Lapsang Souchang, then couldn’t help..but think..of the startling and disturbing contrast..between the peace, this tea brings..and the sadness engulfing all China these days!

My spouse last night, was critical of the movie I mentioned above! He did not like it! I on the other hand thought..it was..interesting at so many levels..especially..the textiles..and custom design! The acting was marvellous too! And…the tea.

Wishing everyone peace, and a cup of their favourite tea.

Charlie

Charlie is a tiny tiny dog that I walk.

Charlie is very skittish! At least she used to be, until…2 days ago.

See, I walk another 2 dogs beside her. And they are both much bigger! And they go crazy, the second I park my car! ….Not Charlie!

Charlie usually prefers to hide.

I usually let myself in, as I have a key to the place. And all I need to do, before Charlie came into the picture, was to just get in, place leads on Lacey & Luna, and off we go for an hour run/walk on the trails.

Not lately, as like I mentioned, Charlie..hides. So I have to take my boots off, and go look for her, underneath furniture..beds..etc. And when I usually find her, she’s shivering.

During our latest walk, something shifted in Charlie!

I had picked her up, and hugged her while walking. The other two were walking along with bushy tails and big doggie smiles on their faces! And I thought, for the first time, I saw Charlie smile too?!!!!!

As I glanced at her, hugging her and warming her up in my arms, she suddenly looked!? Happier!

At first, I thought I was imagining! But then, as we walked and walked, I felt her tiny body relax! And at one point, she even quietly snuggled her tiny head, between my neck and chin! I felt…over the moon!

As we walked some more, she placed one of her paws..on my hand! Now?! I was…about to burst into tears, as I squeezed her tighter to my chest.

I underestimated Charlie’s fearful, always trembling and extremely quiet character!

Charlie, ‘feels’. She is definitely capable of knowing, of learning…I am her guardian on our walks, and that she can feel safe, in my arms! What a feeling that was!

It was a reminder, to never underestimate little tiny dogs again! To not ‘assume’, they are any less, than the bigger ones! To never subconsciously, criticize their fearful nature, doubt their intelligence, or/and their ability to show trust.. with a little stretch of a tiny little paw, or a quiet snuggle underneath a human chin.

Friend

Yesterday was coffee delivery day.

I usually do not have interactions with my coffee customers, and it’s all part of the plan. My plan, to keep the process as simple and efficient as possible. I basically stick to do all deliveries in one area of the city that I can manoeuvre my way around easily, and I drop off the coffee packages at door steps. The rest, gets mailed.

Recycled craft bags are usually left there for me, once a month, to collect and reuse.

Efficiency, sustainability and no ‘visiting’.

The look on my coffee customers’ faces, 5 years ago_when I basically decided to put a misfit poorly designed e/commerce website together, so they can continue to order the coffee beans online, after closing down my café and my roasting facility_ was priceless! ‘Stir away from all windows! If I spot you, I will turn around and no coffee haha’!

My wonderful coffee customers? Complied.

I can count on my fingers, how many times in the past, I did actually have to exchange a few words of ‘How’ve you been?! Etc etc’, with my customers.

Then there came yesterday!

As I was flying down the 5 steps at the front of a customer’s house, heading back to my car, and the one coffee package was all dropped off, I heard a voice behind me.

It was…Samuel.

But by then, I was already at my car. Yet there he was, taking careful steps down on a chilly (still considered winter) February day.

His usual wide lighthearted smile…brought me back, to the first time we met, 10 years ago. He was rubbing the sides of his coat-less forearms to warm up.

– – – –

Fast backwards 10 years ago…

It was my very first day, at my coffee booth, in a new Farmers’ Market in the city.

Samuel, was wearing a patterned NewZealand woollen sweater. The sweater was beautiful! He stood in front of my counter facing me, and questioned every detail about the coffee.

He was skeptical. It was very obvious, that I was at the company of a serious coffee fanatic, and I ‘was’ one too! So imagine my joy, explaining all those nerdy coffee nuances!

Samuel, purchased only 2 lb. He still did not trust my expertise, and wanted to try the coffee first. Which, I respected, and was in fact delighted by. I was already confident in my coffee roasting abilities. I knew if I did it right, he will be back after he tries it.

Samuel did come back. And our deep friendship began.

A year later, I moved into my much bigger ‘prominent’ spot at that same Farmers’ Market.

Then after I became the actual main Café in that market, Samuel, on a certain day of the week, would pickup his coffee beans, and I used to let another barista take over, and I used to sit down with him over a cappuccino and talk books, design, etc.

Samuel is an author and also owned a printing company, so the conversation was always, rich and enjoyable. After all, I was a graphic designer, who had dumped all her design projects into a compartment at the back of her tired designer brain, and was in the process of forging a new entrepreneurial path.

In those days, and first years, my design appetite, and design sense, was still strong. However, I was slowly, weaning myself off the sweet taste of fonts, typefaces, codes, editorial design projects, corporate branding and thrilling intense web design adventures. So any conversation to bring me back to who I used to be, was a nostalgic one perhaps, yet a happy one at the same time.

Yesterday, Samuel looked…frail.

The years have passed, and I couldn’t help, but stare at the signs of time on his face. His hair, all white now too.

I think I could detect a sense of joy in his eyes, in his usual big wide smile, but…it all felt…incredibly sad. Why?! He’s just not the same. The frailty of life caught up with him. And I believe, the fact, Samuel was never keen on the idea of exercise, must’ve accelerated his health deterioration.

How does it make ‘any’ sense?! Could someone ever answer that question for me, without the usual regurgitation of ‘helpless acceptance and forced wisdom’, or the patronizing deniability of the sadness of it all really…!

I will never understand it. I will never, accept it. It will always infuriate me.