Your Mood

Something is happening with your mood! However, it does not affect me! And I don’t believe it should!

That was the thought I had, while smiling and watching J, my product designer/architect/coffee customer _who buys way too much coffee from me_ this morning at our usual Italian café!

The other J, my other friend_who used to be the first J’s professor in Chicago, a million years ago! I know it’s a bizarre world!_was sitting at the table too, busy sipping his cappuccino.

J1, if I may call him that, is a brilliant personality! One cannot but admire such brain! The wealth of knowledge! Architecture, art history, design history..! It’s all..there, meticulously filed in chronological order!

It was apparent, J1 was in a bit of a mood today! Despite his usual happy self, the generous smile on his face..etc, I could sense ‘something’! Something was going on around that spotless chrome filing cabinet of a brain!

My vivid imagination, as I was sitting there, kept picturing a chair that had fallen, and is now laying on its side, or, a bookshelf that had given way underneath all those amazing rare and heavy encyclopedias! Inside J1’s brain!

See, I can imagine anything I want with my brain! Even if it is for my mere entertainment! It’s my brain, I could do whatever I want with it! Not that anyone is arguing with me on that one! I suppose I just feel like saying it.

It’s Mies’ 133 Birthday today! J1 said to J2.

Referring to Mies van der Rohe. The famous Bahaus modernist architect known for ‘less is more’ in his style.

As I sat there, watching people, listening to all those Mies and Gropius tales and a variety of architectural discussions between J1 & J2, I kept feeling calmer and calmer! I was very relaxed! J1’s hard to explain tone and body language at certain moments, which was making me feel like I was invisible in the conversation at times, only managed to cause such calming effect on me!

Maybe it’s because, I am aware of J1’s level of complexity and eccentricity! We all know, or have at least encountered people, who are incredibly smart, but who can be socially awkward at times! It’s hard to know for certain, when they mean to act awkwardly or if it’s just how they are! Did they mean to make us feel…inferior, less enlightened…not up to speed with certain important topics etc etc etc?! Or, was it simply case of sudden unintentional awkwardness?! One can never be certain.

I love intellectual conversations! I do. That’s why I meet with these two friends every now and then! And we usually have no issues with the variation in our level of awareness or general intelligence! But today, was a slightly different experience! And I wouldn’t say that I particularly enjoyed it as much as I usually do! Yet nonetheless, it did not shake me nor shock me!

I can say, that I was aware of my own self confidence during that meeting this morning! I also enjoyed, my refusal, to allow random ‘inexplainable’ acts, to cause me to question myself! I was sure I was irrelevant to what was happening inside J1’s head! Was it a fallen chair blocking the narrow pathway in that immaculately organized brain of his?! I don’t know! Was it an old shelf caving in underneath all those encyclopedic books?! I don’t know either!

In the end, it still was a great time! And I hope, they are saying the same.

Coffee Poster & Life

The new coffee deer sketch is looking not too too bad! I decided to use him in the new coffee poster I am designing. it’s not done yet.

* * *

Soon, my French Macaron baking days will begin! In preparation for the new upcoming local annual event in April! It’s when our entire touristy little town, comes alive for a few hours on that evening!

Our booth is going to have a new look this year! And I’m working very hard on that!

There will be the usual colourful macarons the locals wait for every year, and a new addition this year! A refreshing Nitro coffee on tap!

It all sounds exciting. I know! And I am excited please don’t get me wrong! I just keep catching myself wanting to…travel! Wanting to run….

Allergy Humour

I have a headache! And my eyes are burning!

Today was a great day. But this evening, my eyes started this really burning marathon! First the right eye, then the left, then the right one again! Until they both reached the finish line of complete agonizing itchiness! And then, a headache followed hurdling down the tracks, dragging itself…slapping its heavy feet on the concrete of the dotted line…all the way to the back of my skull!

Glad to announce: Seems like I will live. It’s simply a case of being allergic to some silly sunscreen I applied today! Yes it’s finally sunny in Permafrost!

After receiving the allergy news through my fogy brain, which was in the midst of processing some words it was reading on the label, ‘Benzoyl etc etc’, my half-witted chin flopped down towards my chest in disappointment and shame! ‘That’s it?! Sunscreen allergy?! You mean it’s not emerging green grass and new beautiful spring flowers popping everywhere..?! Ugh!’

To my further dismay, my very own wise and assertive hand rose, elegantly lifted up my sad chin, moved a few inches away from my face, all while my poor allergic eyes were crossed now staring at it in complete horror, as it turned into a fist for a split second, and I quickly ducked as it punched the air above my head, then like a skilled magician hand, it lowered itself down slowly, in a peaceful gesture! Fingers spread out…! My distrustful burning watery eyes are still following it in horror…as it got lower and lower…and I think I heard and may have even spotted…a white dove fluttering through, making a whistling sound as its feathers vibrated…and then disappeared!!!

_sound of me falling backwards and the dog freaking right out-

Which one?

Life’s unnecessary drama lately has been interfering with my coffee work as well as design work.

An Indian Restaurant wants a logo.

I sketched a graphic by hand and also did other cleaner and simpler computer based designs . They picked the one with the graphic. this is just the back of a business card. Front will have a more developed logo with text etc.

My brain isn’t super sharp. Which one?! I can’t decide.

Birds of Prey

Nothing makes sense anymore!

The feeling of being misunderstood, and left there on the side of the road to comprehension, slices deep! The little dressings aren’t doing the trick any longer.

At one point, one feels they need to exchange their entire soul, with a more resilient one! With a more suitable one for….the hawks who are zeroing in, and the ospreys filling the sky above!

How many more shocks?! How much more sinking into this quicksand called life?! How many more sleepless nights spent wondering and asking so many whys and hows! ‘Why?! How?! How did such a good deed one might have done, become this misunderstood and ends up this misconstrued?! How could something so pure, something one worked so hard for, turn into something completely deformed, and bafflingly grotesque?!’

Where do smiles live when one sets out searching for one?!

She. Part 1

Is she stubborn?! I asked.

Yes. Quietly but unhesitatingly came the answer!

She sat there telling me a story. She would pause every now and then as if realizing a new truth! As if, some sudden thought just struck her! Some detail she had missed noticing among all the chaos! And now she’s connecting those dots for the very first time!

When that would happen, her eyes would gaze through the glass panels adjacent to our table, while her and I sat facing each other in that busy café.

Her eyes looked tired. As if they carried the weight of a thousand injured birds who no longer are able to fly.

I wanted to say something comforting. But I sat there looking at her instead. I feared, all those injured birds would suddenly rush out and encircle me in complete rage! For I stole their silence! The only thing they have left! Their quiet refuge! In her heavy tired eyes.

So I just sat there.

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Image: Sam Burris/unsplash

Mistakes

Today.

Today, my friend’s grandmother passed away. I found out on fb.

Today, my friend withdrew inside her shell again! She won’t answer calls or reply to messages.

Today, someone’s puppy also passed away. I am not particularly fond of the owner, but incredibly sad to hear about their puppy.

Today, I made mistakes. Unrelated to neither favourite grandmothers passing nor lovely puppies departing and crossing the bridge to the rainbow!

Today, and before I heard the ‘real’ sad news about how death makes you stop and forces you to take a look at yourself and feel incredibly silly for rumbling over silly trivial issues, I rumbled and acted proud and even combative.

Today, I complained about neighbours posting pictures on fb, promoting different coffee companies they raved about in the city, and neglecting to even mention mine while I live…across the road from them.

I couldn’t understand why! And I complained about it to another neighbour, during our dog walking excursion!

I am not proud of failing to act bigger than this puny little issue! I could’ve chosen to take the higher road! I usually do! Instead, I allowed my frustration over a fb post, to get the best out of my judgment! And in the end? It did not make me feel any better. Instead, I felt more sad, and also disappointed in myself over my reactionary behaviour!

I was left wondering, did maturity and professionalism just join hands, after perishing in each other’s arms, then crossed the bridge to the rainbow on the other side too!!!

If this was a good day, I would’ve shrugged the issue, risen above it and said ‘It’s ok! No big deal! Not the end of the world! Yes my neighbour who says they love my coffee, chose to ignore mentioning mine and promoted different other establishments instead on social media! When I could have used the support too, at least ‘some’ support, considering I’m a small operation and I’m RIGHT HERE! Living across the road, and you say you love my coffee! I’m standing here waving…Can’t you see me?! …..At the same time, I know, complaining about it, isn’t going to solve anything in the end! And would just make me feel…frivolous!’. I could’ve had that pep talk with me and myself! Well, I didn’t.

The truth is, I do need to think about this. What is my issue with demanding ‘consistency’???! What’s my deal with expecting ‘loyalty’?! What’s my bone with…’perceived hypocrisy’?!

I need to dig deep. I need to question those black and white beliefs. I believe in freedom. But, where do I draw the line, between..respecting freedom of opinions and choices, and freedom laced with…sabotage and disloyalty? And…what if it was all….unintentional????

Maturity! I’m still searching…

Bizarre Contradictions

His voice said ‘hello!’ I said ‘hi’ back!

He’s my friend who I’m lucky to talk to without a disagreement! as it rarely ever happens!

We usually argue on the phone like two old friends on their way to have their burger at the local diner around the corner, where they fall asleep sitting up halfway through their meal! Then they wake up, and start arguing some more! As if they never had that nap! Then one will be threatening to use his cane if the other one does not stop muttering words and opinions that he is perceiving, as outrageously insulting and incredibly contentious!

As usual, my friend is either much older or much younger than I! In this case 14 years older! I have no idea why life refuses to provide me with friends my age for once! Not that I truly care! I have learnt to accept it as I am very accepting by nature…when I choose to of course! Wink

Humour aside, it’s the mind that intrigues me, age is irrelevant!

So there he was, trying to convince me to install 50000 cameras around my house, as his own neighbour’s house had apparently gotten broken into recently!

I listened, while he’s talking on the speaker, and I am still working away on my computer!

Aha I kept repeating quietly.

You may be wondering why I answered! As I usually dislike talking on the phone as it is, let alone talking to a notoriously contrary personality!

The answer is, I don’t know.

Dysfunctional relationships can be painful. I understand that. I neither believe in them nor support excuses to keep them! Then what is going on?

You are hearing my side of the story. His side may be: She’s a terrible listener. She contradicts everything I say. She becomes blasé very quickly.

And all of the above may be true. I won’t deny it.

I do get tired of pet conversations and I will never understand, how could a strong man who has had an amazing career full of making solid decisions and difficult judgment calls, all through his life, be this fond of….pet talks!!! It’s beyond me!!! So I usually interrupt and say ‘So how’s your…back?!’ And he gets into another lengthy conversation about his back and the slipped disk! To which I then say, ‘well! It seems you’re on the mends! How’s your…’ And he usually gets the idea that I am suddenly suffering an acute tedium attack, and the usual sarcasm begins, adding more to my pain.

My friend painstakingly describes how his cat was bothering the dog, and how the dog retaliated etc…etc…etc. Don’t get me wrong! I love animals! In fact I adore them! I just get tired of repeated pet animal stories on the phone. And isn’t that what YouTube is for anyway?! Endless bizarre and/or cute animal stories?!

So there we were, having another mini disagreement today! Although, not about his pets this time!!

About what?! Well we had a disagreement about something deeper for a change! Or so I thought! ‘The brevity of life’.

– I read something last night! I said

– What about!?

– How we need to pay attention to how short life can be! People we know get sick or die suddenly! It made me think of what I’m doing! How I am living ‘my’ life! Am I happy?! What could I do so I don’t end up regretting wasting my life away?!

– ‘laughter’ Well…whoever wrote this, should have started living their life the way seems the most happiest, instead of wasting time writing stuff about how to live a happy and meaningful life!’

Seriously?!…

At one point I asked him:

– Why do you phone me?! We always argue. We rarely agree on anything!!

– Because you are the only interesting person I talk to.

What does one say to that?

It makes you feel…appreciative. No matter how much you wish to say to yourself ‘look! This may not be true! He may be saying it due to utter loneliness! Stop flattering yourself!”.

At times, I feel like I’ve been watching this friend getting older and older, every-time he calls! He is highly intelligent! Yet his paranoia about issues related to safety in general, is growing! Among other eccentricities!

The truth is, I still have no idea why we speak on the phone sometimes! We barely have anything in common! Our friendship is deeply rooted and we both value loyalty! That could be one key to the puzzle! Or maybe we talk sometimes, because I enjoy him being himself and me being mine! I don’t have to pretend to be ‘nice’! I can be my complete frank, honest and yes impatient self and not fear getting dropped like a bad habit! That’s priceless! Or is it?! On second thought, yah it’s not! Listening to pet conversations is a hefty price to pay.

Do you ever experience such bereavement?!

Ghosts That We Knew

You want your cream and sugar…fine.

I’m having my coffee black. No I am not trying to prove I am superior in my coffee taste. You are free to like your coffee however you please.

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Sitting here before getting thrusted into the busyness of the day, I am on a mission to not repeat my yesterday.

My mind yesterday, pulled its dark cape out of the old dusty suitcase that I had thought I had hidden quite well deep inside my psyche! Somehow, it had found it! And there I was…listening to its old rhetoric. Believing every fake word.

Not today…

I made this fox during the first winter here in the forest. Fox has been my amazing cohort and wonderful confidant for the past 4 years.

So as Fox mimicked me by sitting there crossing his legs on my table, I addressed him quietly:

“Today, I will do some more design work_another restaurant hired me to rebrand_ I will also work on other design projects, as well find the time to work on the design of our coffee booth at an upcoming annual event! And I will get all my coffee orders roasted too! But I will also…run today for an hour. No matter what.”

Fox nodded.

Fox is incredibly playful! I guess, that’s why I created him! Playful is a wonderful way to be! It’s my favourite state of mind! Then, what on earth was I doing foolishly reacquainting myself with my old ghosts all day long yesterday?! Why did I go there?!

Let’s say, I am glad, to decide Fox is going to be my companion today! I guarantee he will deftly outrun me! I know, for a fact, he will leave me behind on the trail, depositing a cloud of glimmering little white ice particles in his wake, that’ll hit my face and make me squint! But that’s ok. I will take his playful company over the old ghosts anytime! I also really need to run even if I arrive last.

So, my old old ghosts, I will be kind in my asking. I hope you will appreciate my euphemism and that you will go back to your old dusty suitcase and leave me in peace!

I am aware of your pervasive insistence on coming back to visit. I am also aware, you will make your usual precipitous entrance into my morning one day again! However, I am getting better at handing you your coffee, after adding all the sugar and cream to make it to your preference, then sending you off on the road. A road that is looking less immutable and much more easier to reroute. And when you make an appearance the next time, I will make sure I am suddenly…out of sugar!

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This post was inspired by:

Mumford & Sons/’Ghosts That We Knew’

Do you listen to them? Do you have old ghosts? How do you shoo them away?

I leave you with one of Fox’s photo shoots from 4 years ago when I was going crazy trying to adjust to living among deer, foxes, bush rabbits and moose! So I created him and other critters on quiet snowy nights! Then one day I grew out of that phase and decided to get back to reality …and I’m still trying to get there…in this lonely forest.

Wolfless Days

Her hair is gathered in its usual comfortable place at the top of her head. Her attire indicates an emphasis on comfort! She no longer knows who she is most days! As she wakes up everyday, and starts working on her many projects! Surrendering to being tossed back and forth between them all!

She looked at the deer scratching the snowy ground with its hoof! Then said

– I haven’t run for 3 days now!

The deer responded

– I haven’t had any decent twigs for 3 months!!

She immediately realized how trivial her inwardly focus was!

The fox was watching! He was bored and tired of all the snow too, so he decided he wanted to be the mediator! Although one would think he should have left that role to …the owl!?

So here comes the fox trotting from a short distance. Approaching while swinging from side to side…his fox arms are all spread out now. He gestured:

– Fellows! Don’t fret it! You both have your unique way of looking at life at the moment! Both are valid in my opinion.

He scratched his little fox beard and winked! Relishing in his suddenly discovered, and very temporary, wisdom!

The deer, stopped scratching the snow for a second and glanced at her! She on the other hand, lowered her head as she reflected on how what she was focused on at the moment_failing at her running routine_ was in fact incredibly frivolous, when compared to the lack of twigs in this cold and snowy forest.

The fox is no mediator! Her sorrow over perceived little daily failures..is..nothing but a, redundant, tiresome regurgitated behaviour. How could she be this simpleminded?!

No one knew the wolf, was also watching!

When the deer suddenly noticed the wolf, he leaped and ran the opposite direction! And in seconds, the deer was gone! While she was still standing there.

The fox began to retreat, and quickly found a hole he could fit into in a tree-trunk and disappeared amongst a pile of dead branches in the deep snow.

The wolf kept approaching slowly! His eyes were mesmerizing!

The sun, which was shining brightly that entire morning, is now hiding behind a big cloud and everything is turning…grey.

She looked at the sketch she just drew of the wolf…laying in front of her on her desk…The wolf, did not seem as threatening!

Her imagination as usual, made up a little story to distract her from feeling the heaviness, of so many things she wishes she could resolve inside her head. Of so many illogical thoughts that invade her mind and her heart. The triviality of life sometimes…is unbearable! It’s her escapism from the wonderful wolfless life..she can’t stop living!