Thursday, April 30, 2015

What I'm learning -- the uncoffee edition

I'm sorry, wonderful coffee friends, you're not forever forgotten. I'm postponing talking about our meetings for now because I was starting to think I had forgotten what it was to write just to write, without an agenda. I want to get 87 coffees done, but I also know this project needs me creative and feeling alive with the work. I love writing and miss it. I've been knee deep in other work for awhile and I wanted to get back to the basics, so I'm sharing some things I learned in April here on this blog for a change. Don't forget to link up with Emily to join in the fun.

Here are 5 (hey 5 is better than none) things I came up with that I've learned or paid attention to recently:

1. I've been taking a class on crisis management, and I am once again reminded how much the C word is overused.

I mean, I'm having a writing crisis. I mean, I had to say it because everyone else is using it...

Note to self: there are so many movies with 'crisis' in them. You may never look at another movie the same.

2. My house might mimic the state of my brain at the current moment; if there's lots going on and clutter from work and school and life, then perhaps some sense of balance is needed (ie: writing?). It gets better but it's still a constant process of cleaning up after myself. I haven't found any keys in the freezer yet so we're good.

3. I CAN return library books on time.

This is such a big deal. I just want to leave it at that with no further explanation.

But, I'll just say this. I have a terrible track record of returning books. I finally returned a book to my friend who went to  live in Mexico but she asked me specifically (from Mexico) for the book back. I gave it back and she was happy! It was like she got a present, only not really because I held her book hostage (unintentionally of course) for a few months. And apparently while she was overseas, people there asked her all about the book and had she read it or did she own it. I am not sure if there was a section in the book about lending people your stuff, but the good news is, she's still a good friend.

4. Little babies know how to swipe phones.

I'm a little afraid for the next generation because we think it's bad now but my friend's darling baby got into my phone and nearly deleted some pictures with the swipe of a finger. She's still a baby who I promise just learned to walk. What she doesn't know: my name. What she does know in addition to how to mess with phones: a few words like "uh-oh," how to use chopsticks and eat sushi. No matter that they kept falling to the floor when I was out with her and her mom at a restaurant a couple weeks ago; the girl might be a budding genius.

5. I need to move it move it.

I went running for the first time in awhile yesterday and it felt good. I'm not so much a runner but it's nice to move. Perhaps if I can get out more routinely for such active engagements I will not be like the characters below who have a lot of energy to burn.

You're welcome..

I may or may not have played this on repeat for a little while just now (while sitting on my couch..)

Happy almost May!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

So many coffees: grocery store camp out

No, I didn't really camp out at the grocery store to meet people and have some new stories/coffees for you all.

What do you think, that I plan these things?

I can't help it that the grocery store is a magnet for humorous adventures.
 I just go there and seem to end up meeting strangers almost every time. I'm behind in documenting this so I may just lump a couple together from tonight.

There's Mike, the produce man who is always in a good mood. He performed a rap song for me about bacon (because I was buying bacon, of course), and told me tonight the secret to success is 'just give it time.' Not sure what that refers to exactly but that's not important. Most things he says are profound, even if they are short and to the point. He's not a stranger anymore, because every time he sees me he throws out a wise word or two.

Then there's Renee, who told me she has having a long day. We got into a conversation about when the store is busier and why, finding deals and seniors who shop on Thursdays because there is a discount. Since I shop at her store a lot, she encouraged me to find someone over 60 and ask them to shop with me on discount days. I told her I didn't know too many people over 60. "It doesn't matter," she said. "You can just find one off the street."

An experiment in its own right...

A few weeks ago was Shonita (98 percent sure on her name), a cashier from Target.  She had so much energy and enthusiasm. She actually pulled us --me and the most interesting coffee I've met yet -- over to look at some jewelry she got for her friends in Bible study. Lots more conversation happened, I think about Hamburger Helper, and we left realizing we had met someone very southern and very friendly, in the best possible way. I don't know why southern makes a difference anymore, since I've lived here eight years, but I think it's the southerners who have made this northern girl branch out the way she has. Carrying on conversations in line is totally normal, entertaining and can also be a learning experience here. Thank you, Shonita, for reminding me of that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

When someone shares coffee with me: airplane adventures

It's already April, and it's time to get down to business with these coffees.

I had one of those moments the other day on an airplane when I didn't think I was going to be able to pull off all my coffees by the end of this year (or was it a year from October when I made a goal with the guys on the train?). I think I have until October, but still, 87 is a lot of coffees. I picked a big number. Why didn't I pick 27 or something?

Just when I was feeling a little ambivilant toward the whole project, I sat down next to two chatty ladies. By the end of the flight, I had learned that the neighbor my left (Kelsey) was in a bad car wreck a couple weeks ago. She showed us pictures of the car. Danielle, sitting to her left, kept showing us pictures of her trip to Columbia. Go there, she said, if you ever get the chance. I also learned they BOTH love their dogs very much.

All these conversations began because of one simple question: "Are you Irish?" I saw the ring she was wearing. After I asked, Danielle piped in that she was Irish, too.

These two cured my recent bout of favoring anonymity over meeting strangers, especially on airplanes and trams and the like.

Of course, every time I come out of my shell again, I'm dazzled by the stories and all the adventures (except when traveling makes me motion sick but that's neither here nor there). And I'm sure the tales I learn keep changing me.

I wouldn't have guessed that Danielle came from a tough background, one I fight all the time in my work with my kiddoes. But that's her story to tell, not mine.

Her kindness and spirit, I don't think she'd mind me sharing with you. Because she and Kelsey made the coffee happen, hands down.

Thanks, ladies, for reminding me that this job isn't always work. Sometimes, I get to just sit back and watch the stories unfold.