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 his hoof! Then said

– I haven’t run for 3 days now!

The deer responded

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

She immediately realized how trivial her inwardly focus was!

The fox was watching! He was bored and tired of 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 and then approaching slowly! His fox arms all spread out and raised up.

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

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’s focused on at the moment_failing at her running routine_ is, 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 far! While she was still standing there.

The fox began to retreat, 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 the entire morning, is now hiding behind a big cloud and everything just turned 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 loving!

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Life Lately

My mind just said to me ‘don’t write! You are empty. Just.. don’t write! Ok?!’

But today, I had to put my foot down twice! And I’m glad I did! And I’d like to ‘document’ this mildly agonizing day with a few words. So when one day I look back, I remember that sometimes I just have to say Thanks but no thanks. Or just..no. We all have to.

I am going to be participating in an annual coffee event coming up. The event committee usually does a live interview on a local BreakfastTV Channel to promote the event. A program I never watch as to me watching TV during the day is an activity_or perhaps an inactivity_ that resembles sitting in a dentist’s chair! That’s how much I dislike it! But then I’m odd and I believe we have established that by now.

The event committee picked me to showcase the event live on TV this year! I declined. And I am perfectly comfortable with my decision! I could completely see how others would jump at the opportunity. Promoting their business and the event sounds very appealing! I personally do not enjoy being in the spotlight. It’s that simple. So it’s a no.

On the other hand, I’ve been keeping my mind busy doing some graphic design work, researching cold coffee brewing recipes with nitrogen and without, designing a big background of wood and copper piping to go behind our counter at the coffee event mentioned above! My mind is doing a lot of creative thinking and problem solving. No wonder it is feeling wary of writing a post.

The past couple of days, have been spent swimming on and off in a realm of mellow disappointment, and then wading into a shallow pool of…frustration. Nothing major. Nothing too serious. No deep agony. Just…life.

Lots of hours of sitting behind the computer. Creating graphics. Revising. Making changes. All that is required to create solid designs for a…local restaurant’s Corporate Identity and rebranding.

I don’t work regularly as a graphic designer anymore. I’ve had my coffee business for a few years now and I just take on graphic design projects sporadically. So it’s fair to say it takes me a little bit longer to produce a design that I am happy with.

When I finally presented to the client a couple days ago, they seemed to like the designs, and in the end decided upon one. All good. Until…

Until they started changing the design to a point it is no longer recognizable! That process generally happens a lot when you work as a designer. I was prepared. I finally advised any further changes will be hourly billed! As well as, I also cautioned against all the changes and supported my opinion with clear reasons and objectives.

It took some dealing with the unpleasantness of basically saying to the client ‘Stop making changes! Or this design will risk becoming suitable for a 9 year old Dandelion Cookie Fundraising Group!’! Thank Goodness I did not actually use that exact wording! However, they’ve responded to my gentler version of it, and already stated they are willing to go back to the original design! Of course, that is after giving my brain mini aneurisms every single time they’d suggest a new change or add ‘more’ bright colours!

Life is…stressful sometimes! Life is…full of doubts and uncertainties at others! Questioning our decisions, reasoning, current mood, triggers, reaction etc is part of it all! But, knowing when to stop all of the questioning, and then making a decision that is inline with ‘our’ self respect and self value, is a skill we need to master. Otherwise, we may risk allowing life to fill in all the blanks, while we are standing there..watching from the sidelines.

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.

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