Not A Dreamer

My decision is made!

I will not be reopening my old café.

I am relieved. No more sitting on the fence. No more hesitation. I cannot stand hesitation, and I’ve been doing nothing but just that! Since I moved to this town four years ago.

For the past four years, there has not been a day that passed by, without the thought of recreating the old café legacy crossing my mind! The years I had my café, were the happiest ones of my life! So I can understand my constant yearning.

Then, when my sister, communicated to me very passionately, her own understanding of my situation! I decided to finally give it a serious thought!

Unfortunately_or maybe fortunately_ reality said: this isn’t a wise decision at this time! And after studying the target market, demographics, SWOT analysis results etc..! I concluded, this little town isn’t my ideal location for business! If I was still in the city, it would have been a different story! But I’m here! In this town 30 minute away from the city! And I’ll be pretending if I am to declare: I understand how little businesses make it here! We have two high end restaurants that city people drive all the way for! They are doing well. The rest?! Not that great!

A café isn’t a restaurant. A café in this area, will not make it on coffee alone! I had to start adding gelato and sandwiches to the menu! And soon I was looking into more and more items to add! My heart was no longer excited! My heart will weep while serving your children sticky gelato before smiling again while making your latte! I love gelato! Don’t get me wrong! I know how to make a crazy Affogato! And I have! But beyond making Affogato, I have zero interest in gelato! There’s no dosing the perfect espresso shot, dialling in the perfect grind, or counting the seconds it takes, to make that espresso shot the best one you’ve ever tasted! Basically, scoop a blob of gelato, here you go enjoy. That’s it. No creativity! No pride in producing something very special.

So, here I am!

No to opening a café! But…yes to introducing Nitro Coffee as an addition to my current coffee business.

I am excited! And I honestly rarely get excited unless you are taking me out for dinner or..a drink!

And if you really would like to know other reasons for me being happy about my decision, I will say: This decision means I’ll continue to find time to write, bake delicious colourful French Macarons, do some art, talk to the deer, hangout with the birds in the forest, create weird stuff on nights when creativity strikes…etc etc

Life is too short. Giving back to my community is great! And I will continue to do so in other ways But, in the end it’s my decision to proceed with a shop or ..not.

Advertisements

Heart & Insecurities

Have you ever listened to ‘Heart’ really loud?!

I’m talking about ‘Heart’ the band!

Myyyyy Goodness that voice!!!! And the sister on the guitar?! Holy moly!!!!

  • I do this every now and then! I’d hear a piece of music or a random song, and decide to turn the volume up…and just stand there! Then start wondering ‘how could I not have listened to it with my full attention before???!’
  • Heart. Her voice is rebellious and yet when low…is as tender as it can be!!! The range! Is…out of this world! High…really high…then low and soft to a point you feel it reaching into your own heart, and flooding it with rhythm! Your ears are suddenly taking the backstage, your heart! Is doing all the listening! No wonder the name ‘Heart’ is very fitting!

    _______

    I was thinking this morning, about honesty as a practice to avoid catching myself feeling..hypocritical at times!

    I think a lot about life, and how important it is to recognize the brevity of it; as well as how we need to smile and laugh no matter what! Not wasting the littlest opportunity to have fun, laugh at life if we must, with it, anything, anything that lessens life’s unbearable potency in our heads!

    However, looking at pictures from our last getaway, to escape the cold reality of our frigid temperature lately, even if only through…past warmer memories! My eyes, followed a trail of smiling sun filled vacation photos! Then, suddenly stopped on a long faced one! Hmmm!

    In the picture, little freckles are all over my skin after spending close to three weeks under the FL sun! My long hair chopped short. It has grown since but I do miss it prior to being chopped. As I stared at the picture, I started feeling a little… sad!

    Thoughts about vanity wanted to creep in. So I got up, played Heart really loud, felt a surge of confidence about the signs of time on my face and…I smiled!

    I love where I am now! I may have aged but so what?! I run for an hour nearly everyday! I am working on exciting projects! I am making wise decisions about where I’m going with my business! I am more mature after wasting years on things that did not really make me happy! I know what I like and what I want! I’m more focused than I’ve ever been! More forgiving! More in the moment!

    However, do I have self doubts?! Absolutely! Do I run the opposite direction laughing sometimes when I accidentally glance at my reflection in the hallway mirror?! Yup! I do! I laugh at how sometimes I scare my own self! People think I’m just being humorous when I say that, but it’s TRUE! And although it may sound hilarious, the reality is, I can be incredibly hard on myself when I think about my outer shell at times! I have moments of ‘oh my Gosh what’s happening to my face?! RUN! Why is my spouse staying with me?! Is that why he doesn’t take me on a date?! I cannot say I can blame him! I’m hideous! Even my nose is getting wider!!! Is my nose getting wider! I think it is!!!!’

    Yes I do have those thoughts! It’s about time I’m honest and open about them! And I need to realize the fact, my spouse isn’t the romantic type! And neither am I so how can I blame him?! Life is about taking responsibility. And as easy as it is to blame others, one real deep look at things, can tell us we are creating our own realities most of the time.

    When people or friends tell me I’m attractive, I usually never believe them! I think instead, they are merely being..nice! And to be fully honest???! I still think that way and that may never change.

    There are two people in this world, who when said to me ‘You are beautiful’, I actually full heartedly believed them and did in fact, feel…beautiful! One was my father. The other, was an old boyfriend, who was much older than I and always reminded me of my father when he used to say that! Maybe that’s why I believed him!

    As an artist_I am finally comfortable calling myself that_ I am a forever beauty chaser in every form, shape, texture etc etc! And I do see beauty in faces others say I’m crazy to describe as such! Beautiful! My standards of what’s beautiful when it comes to others, are incredibly liberal and unique! And I love that about myself! But when it comes to me! I sometimes catch myself only focusing on the flaws!

    This is wrong. I’m on a mission to change my thinking. I love confidence and strength! Then how does it make sense that I can be this insecure?! I need to see, that my hair is growing quickly and soon I’ll have it..past my shoulders again (laughing)! By soon I mean: It’s going to take another year until it’s long again! Hence laughing! I just need to keep the scissors away from my reach! So I don’t get into a mood and decide ‘My vanity is killing me and these scissors will end it all, and will set me back on the path of wisdom and sensibility’.

    I need to start appreciating my hair and not abuse it and call it ‘homely’. At least I can start being kinder to my hair, and hopefully next will be some love towards my nose and my skin! You can laugh! Go ahead. It’s ok! This is very silly. I know. I am working on it. What’s the deal with my nose?! I have no idea! I wish I can tell you!

    My hair at this time last year? Was long and beautiful! I had no idea then, that my hair was in fact beautiful! I completely took it for granted! Then after I took the scissors to it one night, it took me only two days of acting delusional! Thinking I’m all light and fresh and boyish! And then?! I woke on the third day! My hair looking like it was hacked by my accomplice in crime in a thriller movie! They chopped it to conceal my identity as we skipped town never to return! And I then realized: well that was stupid! I learnt a lesson from it. ‘My hair?! Is important to my sense of confidence, and yes facing the reality of my vanity is hard! But if this is where my vanity stops?! I’m comfortable with that and accept it! I will no longer question it.’

    I remember playing the Heart album in the car, this past October! The day before the one we were supposed to return to the cold! I did the same thing earlier today!

    Just like today, I remember I had a long face! As I wanted to stay! I did not want to come back! I’m a sun worshiper! I grew up on the beach! It’s in my blood. It’s in my…heart.

    Then? As I turned the volume up, and as we drove to the beach one last time! The long face softened, and I could feel its muscles starting to relax… and the music yet again…became my rescuer! My smile returned and stayed until we drove back the end of the day all exhausted and sun struck!

    Do you have insecurities?! How do you work on them?!

    The Spoken & The Untold

    The yearlings are getting bigger. They walked up to my coffee roasting room this morning! it’s on our property not too far from the house.

    The coffee scent swirling the forest, must’ve led them right to my door!

    Their mum and a few of their aunts, approached first. But it didn’t take long for the youngsters to gain confidence and join into the inquisitive panoply of sheer curiosity. Their instinctual and observational powers, are heightened!

    I tried not to look disconcerting, as words gleefully leaped out of my mouth: Hello my friends! I’m really sorry it is snowing again! The twigs are all buried in the deep snow aren’t they?! I cannot give you coffee. I don’t think you’d like it!

    “I sound like an old lady! Am I sounding like an old lady?!!!! What is happening to me?! I need to stop or I will start knitting long skinny socks to keep the deer’s legs warm in the winter and little cat hats for faro cats I’ll start homing from Mexico!”. My words to myself.

    The deer’s untold words echoed mine: We heard a rumour!

    – A rumour?! What about?!

    – You are leaving us. You are going to open up shop in town. And you’ll be there and not…here.

    – I am not sure yet! But if I do, you can still visit me! Won’t you?

    – It won’t be the same.

    _____________

    As I looked at the deer. Their big etherial eyes. Their beauty! All the peace that surrounds them! All the unspoken words of stillness, quietness and tenderness! I couldn’t help but wonder…What would life be like if I am to actually get thrusted back into the chaos?!

    I will be giving ‘something’ that my fellow humans need. But my own peace, that I have at times pulled around me like a soft blanket on the snowiest night, then pushed away on days when my vicious tedium with…the trees as they refused to talk back to me, along my pervasive ambitions nature saying it’s not enough, that peace, will all…be…gone! I will give it to humans. I will scoop it up early in the morning, set it beside me in the car as I traverse to work, then hand it to humans all day long. At the end of the day, the bucket will be all empty…and there’ll be nothing left, for me.

    The irony is, since I started looking into opening my business again in town, I have been very busy working on different projects here and there! As if the deer have conspired to show me, how any busier than this, and my life balance will be compromised!

    The deer! My immutable defenders of peace. What are they telling me?!…..

    Stories

    I’ve already written a post today.

    The WP Gods are frowning upon me right now! Shaking their fingers at me ‘no no no! You shouldn’t! You mustn’t! You daren’t!’. And to that I smile and I playfully hide behind the curtain! Then I peek and whisper ‘But I should! But I must! But I..can!’

    Let’s break some WP rules shall we?! After all, it’s in the family! My family! Or so it seems!

    So here I am! Finished my 1 hour run, ‘indoors’, as we are experiencing what feels like the 10000th blizzard this month! I’m all showered. I have running aches all over but I’m used to them.

    Tomorrow, I have 50 lb of coffee to roast and package for an order in the city! But right now, I’m warm and relaxed and …happy! And I have 2 little stories about two of my favourite people in this world, that I’d like to share before I go to bed. My sister. And my best friend. Who, are two perfectly interchangeable people at times, and have been! I sometimes feel a blood connection to my friend, and a deep friendship with my sister. It can’t be more wonderful in that sense.

    First, my friend. I sent her a sappy text. And she called me. And boy did she have a story to tell! I’m still very concerned about her. She’s thinking of handing in her resignation at work! The stress at home and now at work, is causing her health issues now. I am deeply saddened by her situation! But have a feeling, she will emerge out of it, and she will be fine. At least, she’s talking to me now and I’m so glad we are back as close as ever!

    Here’s my pathetic text that finally softened her heart!

    __________________

    The other story is incredibly funny and uplifting. It’s about my sister. My ‘real’ sister. The one who lectures Drama & Theatre!

    My sister is near completely healed! It’s so bizarre! Considering she had a brain operation about a month ago! However, the funny part of the story is below!

    M (my sister’s name), is a calm and collected woman! Most of the time!

    Two days before her brain op, she is laying in bed in the hospital! They are doing all these prep tests etc. She is wracking her pre operated on brain, over one of her students, who happened to have his dissertation scheduled the next day! Basically the day before her scheduled surgery. She knows she’s not to leave the hospital under any circumstances!

    She decides, she is going to get it done! The dissertation is going to take place! She’s not going to cause her student to have his graduation delayed due to a complicated brain surgery! Who does that after all?!

    To that I’ll answer ‘everyone! Except my crazy sister! No wonder they were operating on her brain!’

    After arranging the details of her arrival at the university with the faculty, the timeline and other crucial details_Crazy theatre folks can you say??!!_the silly woman puts on her clothes! Wears her hospital gown on top!!! Straps on her black stilettos!!! And sneaks out of the hospital! Gets it done in a couple hours, has some espresso with the faculty, then gets a taxi back to her hospital bed and no one is the wiser!

    Crazy woman!

    And now? Like I said, she’s healing amazingly well and nearly back to normal!

    This is not my sister! Rather a deer visiting earlier today. Similar ears though.

    The Little Things

    Phew…

    What a day so far!

    A restaurant in town hired me to design their corporate identity the other day! I initially blurted ‘I roast Coffee for a living now! Not a designer anymore’! But when someone starts feeding your ego, some real tasty goodies that your ego happened to fancy, stuff gets tricky. My ego was fed, then offered some sweet elixir too to intoxicate it even more! ‘My husband and I think your business mind is amazing…etc!’. They’ve been following my entrepreneurial coffee journey since I moved to this town. My poor ego didn’t stand a chance.

    Do I need to feel a little bit of shame here?! Perhaps! However I don’t! And I’m sorry. But I think I can create a killer identity for them! And I miss design!

    In fact, I’m excited! I can use a yummy colour palette for their identity and packaging! Versus just one or two colours! I could use my own illustrations that I will create, for the packaging part. I managed to convince them against using actual stock photography! I feel it’s hardly effective in food packaging these days, and also blends in with all the other packages that also incorporate real photos of food, on store shelves or in the freezer section. The only reason I’d have agreed on using real food photos, if, they were to hire a professional photographer! Considering it’s not the case, no actual photos will be used.

    All good! Right?! Well not so fast!

    I opened my MacBook Air this am! My rusty fingers cracked like an old pianist’s hands after not practicing for a while! Yet, I still smiled, sighed joyfully and…opened up photoshop.

    Photoshop….right there and then, danced for a second on my happy screen, then crashed. Then crashed again. And again!

    Despair. Complete despair.

    I refuse to buy a monthly subscription for Adobe products_I thought to myself_. It’s illogical as I own the software! Plus, there’s a sweet nostalgia attached to ‘owning’ your Adobe products! Subscription means…detachment, distance if you will, between me and my little slice of sweet software! The sense of separation, is overwhelming! I’m now feeling cheated!

    As I tried figuring out the problem, I soon realized, it’s a bug problem due to the latest ‘Mojave’ Apple OS update!

    2 hours passed. Then 3! And I’m still glued to forums and nerdy sites about bugs and heartbreaking system updating tales! Story after story of Apple computers that sat there…facing their distraught owners. Scowls. Tears. Strands of hair getting pulled. Thrown at shuddering keyboards! All jumbled with an endless trail of cursing words.

    I could only imagine if those poor Apple computers could run, they’d have booted it to the adjacent room, and immediately barricaded the door with a chair. I could picture them sitting there on cold bare tables and desks…shivering. Their angry frustrated owners’ eyes peering through their guts, flipping all their files and folders upside down, throwing pieces of their poor little bodies in the trash can, dragging other parts all over..here..there…all over the screen…it’s all so…barbaric.

    Then, the fourth hour passed! By now, I am sitting here like a mad scientist, ready to erase the whole entire hardware! If that would make my photoshop stop crashing.

    My laptop keeps moving one inch at a time…away to the side! I draaaaaged back in front me! It tries taking an inch backwards, I pick it up and sit it back there where it was. I think I heard it starting to cry for help at one point, but alas, by then, my scary eyes and the evil smile on my face was all filling me with unstoppable determination to end this agony once and for all! ERRASE EVERYTHING. Get rid of all the memory. Install a new one! Do whatever it takes. Just make photoshop whole again.

    Then??? I read: Try this trick! I had already tried so many different ones of course! However, I did. Then tried opening photoshop ….and…Voila. It worked!!!!

    To describe my joy?! Is nearly impossible! I honestly felt like the smartest person in the whole entire….’forest’! Which technically I am! As I’m the only one here! The deer, the moose, those cunning foxes and even all the crafty squirrels?! Have nothing..absolutely nothing…on me!

    I blew off a strand of hair hanging over my face. Did a circular side pose with my head at the …dog…but she was sleeping! I’m feeling extremely proud!

    I wanted to jump on the table and scream ‘I DID IT’!

    It’s a small thing! But the last time I felt this happy?! Something in fact, huge, had happened! It was when I went home at the end of my very first day of Grade 1. And declared to my then completely shocked mother ‘I refuse to sit even one day in Grade 1! I’m Grade 2 now’. I had actually convinced my Grade 1 teacher along with the principal, that I knew ‘everything’ Grade 1 pertains! And that I needed to go straight to Grade 2 as I’m already bored out of my mind after…2 hours in …Grade 1. But that’s a story for another time. Sorry, I got carried away.

    Cheers to all the nerds in the world! Yay

    _______

    Photo: Geran De Clerk

    No Answers

    The line between joy and sadness, how could it be this blurry?! How dare it be this mocking?! It shouldn’t be!!! At least my logic does not seem to comprehend its translucence. My logic demands solid separation. It only makes sense to have absolutely solid separation!

    How am I to insult my logic with the awful truth?! ‘Hey..logic! Yes I know you are there and don’t get me wrong! You’re wonderful! But! (My index is trying to help by extending in front of my face. I will thank it later), but…I need you to figure this one out and get back to me when you do pleaaaaaase…! I need you to tell me: why was I happy with my own circumstances, yet just now, my best friend’s worsening personal ones, is taking all my joy away?! Sucking it all out like a hungry vacuum, and replacing it with!?…Bear with me while I try to describe this the best way I can. My joy, is being replaced by…deep concern, and a sinking feeling of absolute helplessness’.

    Lately, I’ve been experiencing pure amazing joy, and inspiration that has been so wonderfully clenching my thirst for ‘more’ in life. In my…life.

    I’ve been trying to talk to her for the past couple of weeks. She’s been acting withdrawn. I have no idea what’s going on anymore!!

    Let’s see if I can explain the situation.

    My friend, is a beautiful in-fact gorgeous woman! But she has so much more than just her looks! She is one of the hardest working people I know! She went to school at the worst time of her life! Graduated and found a great job! Moved away and worked so hard, to be where she’s now.

    Career-wise?! She’s doing amazing!

    Relationship-wise?! Could not have been worse!

    There’s a person she’s keeping in her life, who’s an addict. Who does not try getting help. That alone does not sound good! I know. But it’s even worse! He’s the father of her child who’s in fact a teenager now. She’s not even 40 yet! The man?! If I can call him that, cannot hold a job and instead!? Keeps dragging her down, and undermining her soaring career.

    Logic, thank you. Thank you for not leaving the room. I would’ve.

    Considering you are still here, let’s sit down.

    Logic just had a gulp out of its whisky glass! I’m still feeling thankful it’s still sitting there listening to my rambling. I’d be feeling very alone right now if it didn’t.

    Back to my best friend’s story.

    I wrote her a letter the other day. I did not hold any punches. I laid out the ugly truth all naked in front of her eyes. May be that was a mistake! I’m not too certain anymore!

    In my letter, I stated her teenage boy is watching. And whether she wants to see it or not, he’s learning from?…her. The way she’s allowing someone to drag her down, is setting a not very good example. I cautioned he (the son) will be repeating that pattern in his own future relationships. One way or another.

    She did not respond.

    I called again today. Left a message.

    She called back.

    Her voice was cold.

    She said she refused to read my letter as she’s ‘letting life take her where it wants to take her! And she’s not fighting it anymore’

    WHAT????

    I wanted to yell: Please wake up! The storm is coming! What is wrong with you?!

    Of course I couldn’t.

    I just said: ok.

    If you are still reading this. Thank you.

    I am absolutely fine. She’s not. But, I can’t save people I love so dearly unless they want to save themselves.

    Logic is suddenly smiling. Is it the whisky?! My eyes are studying its facial clues. I don’t think it is. I’m pleasantly happy to know.

    Back to you my reader: This isn’t a disaster. Please you needn’t be alarmed. I refuse to get dragged down, even by the people that reside in my heart! Why? I can separate. Or can I?

    My heart wants to weep! But I will not let it. My frustration will smother the weeping. I can see..how humans sometimes… love to play the martyr role! To be honest?! My logic will, set its whisky on the side table, clears its throat, look at its logical watch …pretends it has an appointment somewhere else …and would just leave….if I say I do understand it! I don’t!

    I am going to have to give her space. My wild stubborn friend. She will come back. Something tells me she will. I need to trust. I cannot force it.

    ____________

    Pic by Stas Svenchnikov/ Unsplash

    Valentine’s

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

    Could someone explain to this woman ‘me’, this contradiction?! Keep reading

    In reality, I am not one to celebrate V Day.

    Yet, every year, I go nuts baking French macarons, for? …Valentine’s Day.

    By going nuts, I mean, something like yesterday: 12 hours baking, printing labels, packaging, designing etc etc.

    I seriously love it.

    I threw an ad online, among my community where I live. And had to label ‘Sold Out’ in three hours. As the orders poured in. I was beyond excited.

    Yes yes yes, I am ‘one of those’ who end up working for less than $20/hr when I do these spontaneous stunts. Please don’t label me as a fool! I recognize the importance of making a living. I fully understand, the angst_most artists I know feel_with regard to how Artisans (that includes you writers as well by the way), do not get paid their worth.

    It pains me whenever I have these conversations with my artisan friends:

    – THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!!! You need to sell these!

    – /A sheepish sad smile emerges/ It took me 8 hours to knit this piece. But I can’t sell it. I’ll be charging a price no one is willing to pay. They can get something from China for a fraction of the price.

    _______________

    My neighbour across the road, is the epiphany of creativity. Her work, blows me away.

    She’s a petite woman, who works a chainsaw for hours. Doing what? Hear this: Slicing a humongous piece of a tree trunk, nearly half her size, after her creative eyes zeroed in on it somewhere.

    She finds abandoned fallen trees, hauls them to her studio, picks up her chainsaw, and would spend hours, slicing and then plaining…and then sanding…and then doing all these things that only a true artist could do, to bring it back to its glory, and to breath life into it.

    The end result? The most beautiful charcuterie board you have ever seen! Full of the stunning beauty of nature. Full of gorgeous wooden knots that took years to form. Full of what nature’s brilliant hand, created in texture, soothing raw natural hues, twists, curves and just stunning beauty that makes you gasp.

    I will leave you with snippets of my last couple of days. Today will be the same. Full of freshly baked swooning French Macs, gorgeous creamy colour boxes (I LOVE good paper anything), delicate romantic vintage ribbons and all the delicate beauty in objects related.

    I hope you enjoy as much as I am