Coffee Snob

Hi. That would be me. And I remember the bean that made me thus. It was the Kicking Horse Coffee “Kick Ass” and “Grizzly Claw” dark roast, spoiling me to never let another dusty dry, pale bean pass my lips aaaaagain.

It cost’s more, yes, but it was manageable, and it’s organic and Fair Trade!  It’s also a company that started and has stayed in Invermere, British Columbia ,so, you know, buy local!  I’d buckle down and fork out the extra Loonies (Dollars), and when it goes on sale I buy a few. As time passed the cost eventually crept up to $16.99 a pound. There are limits. I have some self control. Now I only buy it when it’s on sale. But luckily I have a back up brew, Tribal Java’s Ancient Ritual, also organic and fair trade, also out of Invermere and almost on par with Kicking Horse in flavour, and body – almost- and a few Loonies less.

I was at Costco and had a look at their big bags of coffee, thinking maybe, maybe one of these brands would be as good as Kicking Horse and for a lot less money. I picked up a 2 pound Italian bag of beans. Italians know their coffee right? Next morning I pour my Italian morning cup, take a sip…. ok. it’s uh… yeah, it’s all right. I guess. My husband sips his. Hmm, he says, only he’s wincing while doing it. Another few sips and we shake off the charade. This is the worst coffee we have EVER had. Instant coffee would have been better!

But we endured through a half a pound. Because you know, bought it, must finish it.

But we couldn’t finish it. Instead we cut our loses and relegated the rest of the bag to the freezer as Desperation Coffee. For emergencies, when out of coffee and unable to get to town for days due to hurricane, gale, or twenty foot seas. (see my About page) I picked up my Tribal back-up brand, and the next morning there was bliss back in my cup.

Life is waaaay too short for horrid coffee. I learned my lesson.

Then just the other day when grocery shopping I turned down the coffee isle and walked right into a small crowd. As I waded into the fray I saw that Kicking Horse was on for $9.99 ! So, seems I am not alone in my brand obsession. A man who looked like a runner; slight build, spandex, you know the look, was literally embracing -as in using both arms- bags of coffee and scooping ALL remaining eight pounds of Kicking Horse Grizzly Claw off the shelf and into his shopping cart. The other folks had theirs in cart and were dispersing. One pound of Kick Ass left, the rest was light roast. Which won’t do.

When he realized I was wanting some too he offered to give me a couple of his. “No,” I said, “that’s fine. I’ll take the Kick Ass.” This guy was evidently excited about his bounty, and on some sub level I could kind of understand his glee; like a mother watching her child pick out a puppy from the litter to take home, like a kid given 20 dollars to spend on road trip snacks. And he got there before me.

I was happy enough to have even one at that price. I put it in my cart and made my way to get in line at the check out. A moment later the runner-coffee-hoarder guy whizzed over to me, his face all lit up with  joy mixed with relief, to say there was another Kicking Horse display over by the entrance with lots of Grizzly Claw!

Yeah, I left the check out line and grabbed three pounds.

 

#Island Life

So it seems I was attempting to fix the handle of my oven door which involved taking out a couple of screws on the  inside of the door and getting behind the glass front- and I was doing great, keeping it all still attached at the bottom as I tilted the top half out to reach the interior screw, then kablooey, it all unhinged in my hands.

The whole glass front dropped off, the little plastic edging pieces sprung out and fell to the floor, and I was now left with mere components of an oven door. I could NOT, even with the help of husband, get that dern thing together again. Call the repair man.

This would be a call to ask if I can bring the door in- because I already knew the appliance repair guys don’t come to my island. (see my “about” page) So, that arranged I packed up the bits and pieces of my oven door for delivery.

The trusty wheelbarrow. Seen better days, but it it does the job. So off to the boat, then across the bay, then carry it up the dock and ramp, then bring down the car from the parkade across the street then load it into the back and drive to the repair shop.

Complicated not complicated.

Does Cleaning Kill Creativity?

Cleaning is a distraction. It is a necessary duty, true, but to clean house is a big time suck. And it is a repeated action that does not cumulate in an end product. As if painting a wall or putting up a gate, well that’s done once and for all- moving on. You are never done with house work, oh no, that activity will be revisited time after time- no, moment after moment. Okay, for a short –short- time perhaps the act of cleaning can have a reward of everything polished and tidy, even smelling good. Hands can be wiped and all in the domain once again resembles an ordered universe. As long as no one moves. As soon as a chair is pulled out, a drawer opened, a glass of milk filled, a meal made, the build up begins all over again.

And it’s only the two of us in the house.

I have this thing where I can’t begin a creative project unless my surroundings are tidy. Even if my creative project will take place in another area – down in my studio for instance, which can be in some comfortable level of disorder. My home on the other hand; the kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc must be in good shape. My bed is made before I leave the room. Before coffee for Petes sake.

If I am going to work outside in the garden in the morning, before I do, first my house has to be in order- I move from inside to outside. So that when I’m done outside I come inside into a tidy home. I am relaxed. Not confronted with a house to now clean. I exhaust myself.

No leaving dirty dishes. Anywhere. No leaving dinner dishes till the morning. Sacrilege. Such a heart sinking way to begin your day welcomed by a pile of last nights dishes! The kitchen must be clean at all times. I think this might be that when entering my home you come directly through the middle of my kitchen. I mean through, as in walking between the stove on one side, sink on the other side. Yeah, I can’t sequester a messy kitchen out of site of anyone. So I’ve become a little OCD about it.

So anyway, it’s annoying. Not sure if this is more prevalent in women than men- but I’d wager it probably is. And sometimes by the time I’m done cleaning, the creative juice is drained. I know, I know, I have to turn it around. Turn a blind eye to the dust on the glass coffee table, the floor my feet are sticking to, the faint ring around the toilet bowl and make creative work the priority. Do that work first, then tackle the mundane.

I remain ever diligent on the road to recovery ~Although this morning  before finishing this post I had to vacuum. And clean my kitchen. I’ll get there.

 

 

 

Yogi Berra

I suppose it is inevitable. Reflecting on the ‘where I’m at’ in my life, assessing. Is it a late mid life crisis? Could be. But it could also be having gone through the loss of my second brother two years ago and the recent loss of my mom four months ago. Causes one to pause. Maybe take stock of the length of runway that’s left me before hitting the gate. I’m coming to terms with a few things. Adjust the reading glasses, pencil poised, hovering over a yellow(ed) scribbler. Tick, tick, and…tick, no erase that.

Speed of life races by at the rate of ones age, the saying goes. Is my life going at 61 miles per hour, or 61 kilometres an hour? I live in Canada where metric is standard, so, lucky me. 61 kilometres per hour is  37.9 mph. Which is better than 61 mph which would convert to 98 km.

ok, nice try.

I think about my fast expiring aspirations and diminishing dreams, and, like shaking off a stupor, make a mad grab at them before they vaporize into the ether. I think about all those rosy, soft edged hours that basked in the languid stretch of my youth, time enough for becoming or accomplishing, for figuring out who I am and what I wanted to do with my life.

Glaring back at me, the not a few great opportunities I let pass by over these sixty years. That I have made some face-palming-stupid decisions or wrong turns is a mad under statement.

And why is it the regretted ones that slipped the net then come back at you, get all in your face like a bully, block out the good stuff?  Anyway I did some good stuff. But damn it’s true – it’s always the one (s) that got away that gets the sighing “if only.”

On the upside, I’ve come to terms with my limits. So that’s a time saver. I know I won’t run off on some tangent of an idea, like ‘I’m gonna open a bakery- slash-cookbook store-slash art gallery in Todos Santos!”  I can rein that in.

I’ve also attained some insight into how I’ve limited myself over the years. That one stings a bit. A lot.

I’ve come to terms that I don’t like vigorous exercise. Like running.

Age has never been an issue for me, and it isn’t now- necessarily. In fact today I am the youngest I will ever be! But it doesn’t sooth the fact that those dreams and aspirations of mine now have a shorter runway for getting airborne. They have a greater risk of calcifying right where they lay. Some would staunchly defend the case that after 60 (50,40) ones “bloom” has quite long ago balled up into a dust bunny now sequestered under the couch.

I beg to differ. Can’t I? I think I’m in fair company, taking as my mentors women who are striding forward, eyes forward, enthusiastic, engaged, age defying in the purest sense; their soul youthful. There are a lot more of these women to hook my wagon to than in my moms generation.

I am aging (stupid statement- me and every living thing on the planet), but we all know its better than the alternative. And I swear I still feel like 40. Ok 45. (refer to above re:  age/kilometre, see? It’s accurate.) But, I must come to terms with the fact that really, if I’m lucky, I may have 15-25 GOOD years left IF my health holds up.

I think I’m pretty healthy.

It’s sobering. I’ve come to terms that this, right now, may be as good as it gets, which is pretty damn good, and to keep embracing with full gratitude what I have in my life and who I’m spending that life with. I know now too that everything comes down to choices. Having had so much experience in making some clunkers has honed my skills. I know better. (Jeez, finally.)

My choice is to continue to get on with those dreams and aspirations no matter how long or short the runway, water my flowers and nurture the blooms, all the while shouting out the incidental wise words of Yogi Berra : “It ain’t over till it’s over!”

Poppy

 

I was overwhelmed with a plethora of wild poppies in my front garden this spring, and lucky me. They proved a fascinating photo study. Capturing the clear slant of the morning sun as it rose over my cedar hedge gave me gorgeous opportunities to explore the poppies crepe like translucence.

I have a large portfolio of these beauties that I will share over the next few weeks~

I use only my iPhone 8. No filters.

Mother/Daughter

My girls, Beacon Hill Park, Victoria B.C.

I call Victoria B.C my soul city even though I had only lived there a mere five years, during my mid twenties; a struggling single parent with a four year old daughter. Even though it was during the more difficult time in my life, young, directionless, and floundering in a relationship with a rock guitarist.

Yet still. I think it is where I grew. And though the growth had its hardships, and in truth don’t the two go hand in hand, these times and places where growth happens always leave an indelible mark. For better or worse.

I was in fact quite happy in those five Victoria years despite the obvious chaos and confusion I had going on then. Ok – my entire 20’s decade was chaos and confusion- but, I grew up. A bit.

Within that five year period while there I worked at a five star Bed and Breakfast as the breakfast chef, which I absolutely loved, then later left the B&B to train and work as a Care Aid. The money was union money and benefits, so it was a strategic employment choice.

Even so, it was when my daughter and I were evicted from our James Bay apartment that eventually determined our move back up island to affordable Nanaimo.

Reason for eviction being the building we were living in was unfortunately slated for demolition. Being built in its place a luxury adult oriented condo high rise. Thus all of us were given notice. And leaving Victoria, reason being that I couldn’t afford to rent a house, and to find an apartment that allowed children was nearly impossible to come by at the time. I looked hard, searching through the listings in the Times-Colonist in every effort to remain in Victoria. The thought of leaving was, I didn’t want to think about leaving. But, time was running out and nothing was coming up.

Except for a two bedroom house my sister-in-law’s parents had coming available in Nanaimo just as my daughter and I would be exiting the Victoria apartment.

But that last Victoria residence, our apartment, was where our fondest memories are kept. It was full of single parents and low income families. We were happy there, neighbours helping each other with child care, and bonding together as a tight community. It was across the street from Beacon Hill Park. My daughter and I could walk out our door, cross the street, and have all of Beacon Hill Park and that great stretch of waterfront at our fingertips. Or we could take a walk down streets lined with great old trees and character homes and be downtown in the heart of the harbour in ten minutes. My daughter’s school was a three minute walk away.

And although I have lived in Nanaimo for most of my adult life, from the age of eighteen, whenever I go to Victoria  – it’s only a one and half hour drive away- I feel as if I’m being embraced by the dearest of an old favourite aunt. It feels like I’m coming home.

This feeling is the same for my daughter.

Recently she visited from her home in Kimberley, located in the Rockies of B.C., with her one and half year old daughter, my first grand baby. A visit to Victoria is on the list of things she wants to do.

Spending the day walking through the park, my baby with her baby, seeing these two together, I could see my daughter once again as the little girl she was with me, remembering our life here, my own youth, my young daughter at my side where together we once had spent so much time, climbing the rocky shoreline over looking the ocean and out towards Port Angeles in the United States.

A little melancholic, our past Victoria life flickered briefly before me as I watched my daughter with her daughter, for those few years when it was just she and I.