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the coffeehouse vs. the coffeeshop

imagesthe coffeehouse experience is a rich and as bold as the coffee it brews.  so what makes a true coffeehouse? hmmm…

you will know a coffeehouse the moment you step inside, it hums and vibrates with connections and conversations, and there are bumps…the physical and the metaphoric. the clientele is a kaleidoscope and collision of ages and destinations.  there is coffee to go for those heading to work, and coffee mugs for those arriving to work, to sit, and to socialize. there is a subtle steam and sweat that emanates here–not from the espresso machine but from those  bodies that are post run or bike. although there are a handful of heels and suits in this house, more than anything there is an abundance of denim, spandex and gortex.

sliding into line you often navigate the young and the old (old in age, but young at heart) as a random order unfolds while coffees and hot chocolates are called–some with a a side of the sweet some with savory. despite the number of steamed and heated cups  ferried from counter to tables and out the doors there are seldom any spills.  it’s as though a magical dance takes place between all those who enter the ‘house.’  a heightened awareness, friendliness and appreciation for the moment allows everyone to bob and weave as though choreographed.

if you have arrived alone planning to get some creative, head down work done, you will.  you’ll receive a few taps on the shoulder and a quick wave or nod but you won’t be bothered because the laptop signifies a universal ‘work in progress.’ conversely if you are seeking out a coffee partner you need only to wait a few minutes before someone you know invites you to join them.

a coffeeshop fills cups and carafes as people file in and out, some in twos some alone. there is a noise, a thrum that is disconnected–it is perhaps like a house that is not yet a home–one waiting to be filled with that special blend of energy. the spark that moves dominoes from static to spiraling.

sometimes a coffehouse is lurking in the shadows of a coffeeshop awaiting the hour where it transforms–sometimes it is only glimpsed in the late evening or mid-afternoon, but if you have a coffeehouse of your own you know what i am talking about.

what’s your favourite coffeehouse?

do more of what makes you happy

Do what makes you happy

bask in the sun, run for miles, make lists, make goals, dream, read a book, have coffee with a friend…smile.

do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t–ok maybe you have to cook dinners and clean the house, but figure out how you are going to make yourself happier about it.

i love, love, love a clean bathroom so i always head there first when cleaning… i get into a groove and the rest of the clean-up is designed to catch up with my sparkling clean and minty bathrooms.  although, i haven’t quite figured out how to love cooking i’ve decided i need a new plan. i’m going to set out a training schedule…. (stay-tuned for details). i figure if i can train to run 21km i can figure out how to make feeding my body a little easier!

so as the summer comes into a close and i savour every moment of freedom and sun i’m recognizing the summer was a time of wisdom and a bit of wonder. summer usually mellows me out, probably because i get to go outside every day and do awesome things!!! over the summer i fell of the grid, probably because i started it in the winter months.  those days where the rain is incessant and darkness comes early.  i was floundering in the evenings–tv and random internet surfing beckoned so i started to write…and then summer arrived. i had to wait for it…yes, those of you who follow me, know it took a while before arriving, but when it did  i made the most of my summer days. the computer got tucked away.

we went weekend tripping from tofino to twin lakes, paddle boarded, camped out, roasted marshmallows and had bonfires. i biked, i ran, i swam, i surfed, i trained and i lounged with friends and family, talking late into the evening with a glass (or a few) of wine. as the summer passed and my birthday came and went i realized i was enjoying the moment…really, really, really enjoying it. i’ll catch you up on some of those moments, including my fabulous 40th.

as september looms i feel the tide is shifting….i’m going to make a list of what i love about summer and figure out how to work it into the next few months.

any hints on how to hang on to the sun?

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blog block

any writer will tell you to keep pounding on the keys. keep words to paper and so on, and anyone training for  a run will tell you just put one foot in front of another…ah fortunately i’m not a writer…but apparently, i am a runner.  i’m giving myself a free pass on the gap in my posts because i’ve been closing the gap on my per/km pace.

i guess i’ve been b#sy–oops shouldn’t have said that. i find that phrase to be on the same page as i am str#ssed. i find it is a little self-fulfilling prophecy. in the scheme of things i’ve had a lot going on but when you look at the big picture it’s just been a bit of everyday life that kind of crashed into a few weeks instead of a few months.

it has just been the day-to-day stuff that didn’t spread itself out as much as i would have liked.  we got a new roof,  pot lights and skylights–all awesome but definitely messy! the deck got repainted and as it would happen my dog took a wonder onto a wet deck with oil paint….you get the picture. my son turned 4 and he had 2 parties (my fault) and i taught a crazy 1 week intensive course. but the best part of the last few weeks…..summer has finally arrived!

i’m thrilled to say i’ve felt the warmth of the summer sun permeating the soles of my feet as i stand barefoot on the road and watch the squirt gun fights get louder, bigger and wetter.  kids bedtimes are getting later and more lax and impromptu drink and dinner dates are unfolding seamlessly.

i’m just rolling into august contentedly even though…

1> i fell into a pool with my iPhone (very sad) and thus was off the grid for 3 days (weird)
2> my  birthday party is planned, for my 40th (courtesy of my husband)
3> i’m running my first half-marathon in 6 days (on my birthday)

i am celebrating my fabulousness at my 40th but i gotta tell you i really don’t believe i’m 40….as a kid that just seemed so old. as an adult–hell it’s young.

as i’ve said before the last time was 17 and crossing my fingers hoping my VW had enough gas to get me where i was heading.  well i guess it did.

wish me luck on aug 11!

a body in motion

legs pumping, lungs burning, and a lot of heavy breathing pushes me up the hill. i’m not alone out here, i’m tailing my girlfriend who’s is training for a 122km ride…oh yeah, with 1700 metres of elevation, thus the hill.  as we climb and climb, and the sweat starts to trickle down my back, a few thoughts are flitting around.

1> why am i riding with a woman clearly in training….ok….that flitted in and out pretty quickly and kinda made me smile

2> does this hill ever get easier…will i ever really ride it without breaking a sweat…probably not

3> this is amazing….and that is the thought that i hung on to for the rest of the ride

what amazes me is the sheer power of our body. it can do brilliant things. we bend, scrape, push and pull it, and sometimes even warp and break it…but it is resilient, and time and time again bounces back.

my feet and legs are strong, they have carried me up and over mountain tops and down the other side. whether traversing trails in italy, trekking along the west coast, or portaging a canoe through the serenity of bowron lakes, i can count on them to take me where i want to go. sometimes it is a simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

holding my breath and diving down below the waters surface, has given me a chance to brush my fingertips over the oceans floor. kicking my feet and pushing water has allowed me to float and flounder like a fish. and even the steady beat of the ocean drum picking me up and dumping me off my board (over and over)  filling my mouth and stinging my eyes with the saltiest of waters has made me smile, laugh and hiccup at the same time.

pedalling through the mud and muck, and over the rocks and mini rivers has unveiled a forest so magical and magnificent it has silenced and humbled the chattiest of chatters. those trails hold the secrets, the dreams, plans, confessions and everyday stories and fables of those who traverse them. there is a reverence here, where the forest and the trees nourish us. they fill us with fresh air and a calm, that if bottled, could save the world.

today we climbed. then we hit the yellow brick road of riding–10k of paved and carless road through a towering forest.  whether in and out once, or lapping it, the scenery is decidedly delicious. at the end of our ride, after all of the effort, while our sweat cooled and we sipped our water i was struck once again by the power of motion.

our bodies are machines, as powerful and as herculean as those mighty steam engines, and more finely tuned, agile and able than any shiny automobile. no matter how we chose to propel ourselves forward, even if it is just putting one foot in front of the other and moving, it is ingenious.

suffused in this revelation, there are a few golden rules that go along with keeping a body in motion.

1> have fun…do more of what makes you happy!!
2> go as far as you can
3> treat you body right
4> your body can do anything
5> keep breathing

get moving!

ps.  always say ‘yes’ to that invitation from friend to get out there, you won’t regret it. thanks for the ride e!

fall on your knees

it is not metaphorical, poetic or contemplative, in this case, this i where i met dirt. amidst the earth, rain and trees for miles, i fell hard on my knees. it happened in an instant. i’m not sure how it all went wrong, but i have a few reminders.

mentally i was congratulating myself, feeling strong and thinking about the next few kilometres. my feet were taking me home. suddenly i felt the heaviness of my body on my hands and i could sense and smell the cold, wet and rocky earth.  parts of my body stopped hard, while others propelled  forward. the knock on my knees and the sting of skin shocked me.  i realized more than felt, i was on the ground.

i pulled my body into me and put my head between my legs. every ounce of my being was focused on not fainting as i have a bit of a problem in that department. my hands burned but i clenched them to my sides not daring to look.  if i saw blood, surely i would pass out.  i did not want to wake to the skid of a mountain bike bumping over my body.

after a few seconds or perhaps moments i pulled my stunned, shocked and shamed body to stand. tentatively i stepped forward hands fisted and put one foot in front of the other. thankfully my body still worked…as did my phone. 10 minutes later i was picked up and homeward bound. my husband said little, he made sure i was ok and then assessed my hands and knees and sent me off to shower and change. a short while later i was resting on the couch…medicated, elevated, iced and bandaged–this all felt vaguely familiar to me.

rewind 1 week- sunday, june 10. at 9:15am i got the call to pick-up my husband and his broken bike. yes, it was the same side of the mountain i had just fallen on–different trail!  20 minutes post pick-up we were in emergency and he was on a straight board with a serious neck-brace. 4 hours later he was released–back not broken–vertebrae ok–but most likely sporting a couple of cracked ribs (thank you inconclusive x-ray).

Not how it should look

now, don’t we sound like a couple of clumsies?  maybe, but instead i am going to chalk it up to getting outside and moving. i remember when we were kids, we wore our band aids like badges. they told a story, and reminded us of the fun we had. now as adults i have a few white lines(some call them scars) but i think of them as stories, they are reminders of moments where i did something brave, heroic or maybe just a little silly.   as kids we played with abandon, we ran, jumped, swung from ropes, balanced and bailed.  scrapes and scuffs were part of the territory. i still get the scrapes but not as many badges. this weekend my son made sure i was covered, he got me a band-aid from his special supply. and you know what, it worked it felt a better.


so despite us being older in age, sometimes, just sometimes “we are always the same age inside” (Gertrude Stein).  we may not be aging gracefully, we may be fighting it one topple at a time but i don’t think i’d have it any other way. i don’t have it all figured out, i have much to learn but i think Newton was onto something with his laws of motion.

a body in motion tends to stay in motion……and a body at rests tends to stay at rest.

i’m all for motion…how about you?