The world’s on fire. I’m back to work. I’m going away for now to attend to my life and educate myself and learn how to be better and do better. I may be back, though I don’t know when. We’ll get together then.
Yesterday we had two training sessions for our baristas. Two months without contact, the first thing they did when they saw one another was race together for hugs. “No hugs!” I said. Unheeded Cassandra. We do not live in the same world. * * * * * Later I moved through an empty cafe, watering … Continue reading Corona Bubble
I bought lunch from the café down the street today. It’s something I’ve been doing over the past two weeks as I’ve returned to my own shop to begin the process of getting it ready for re-opening. I’ve eaten more carry-out meals in these past two weeks than I have in the past year. And … Continue reading Lunch
The café I manage remains closed because of COVID-19. I go in every day or two to do some cleaning, to organize cabinets and wipe down shelves and re-think original concepts that proved unworkable or overly-ambitious. I do all this with an eye to the calendar, knowing that time is passing even though it feels … Continue reading And Then What?
Is it any wonder, as the days roll one into another and we have to check our phones to find out it’s no longer Wednesday but Saturday, that a post intended for Friday doesn’t get published on time? What is time, after all? Just another construct, like the rules for badminton, and the divine right … Continue reading Patternless
Last week I put on the headphones and listened to an old episode of Meet the Composer, which is not something I ordinarily do, but this one featured Laurie Anderson, whose music has enchanted me since I first heard O Superman in the 80s and thought, wtf is this? (Did I say wtf in the … Continue reading What’s Interesting?
In “How to Stay Calm During the Pandemic,” Harvard Kennedy School professor Arthur Brooks parses the difference between risk and uncertainty, between disappointment and regret, and what happens to us when we confuse, in each case, the one for the other. I appreciate the analysis. I’ve seen — we all have — what happens to … Continue reading The Subversive Call of Ordinary Life
All day long I’ve been dreading the governor’s press conference, dreading the announcement that’s due any day regarding the lifting of the stay-at-home order that has shuttered my place of employment since mid-March. I’m dreading the announcement because it will force a reckoning I’d rather postpone for a little while longer: that the work I’ve … Continue reading “You Should Do Carry-Out”
I’ve been talking with the young chef who works with me at the fancy coffee bar from which we are both furloughed. We’re attempting to re-conceptualize our cafe menu in light of all the changes we’re facing, trying to guess at what may emerge at some point in the future when we’re able to serve … Continue reading Everyday is Like Sunday
So I’m thinking a lot about work these days. About what is essential and what is unnecessary, and how this pandemic has illuminated nothing so much as the absurdity of our economy, where the ones who do what most needs doing are the ones whose value is least acknowledged, least rewarded. Most anonymous. Most invisible. … Continue reading Essentials
There are rainbows on the windows and walls of the local businesses in my little town, painted and chalked and pasted up with construction paper, a show of solidarity in a community not known for such a thing. It feels sweet and a little tentative, the town speaking with a waver in its voice, trying … Continue reading The Long Now of Not Knowing
On a Saturday night a little over a week ago a tornado touched down about a mile from my house. It took out a small barn, a few roofs and fences. It brought down tree limbs and a couple entire trees. No one was seriously injured, but it made a mess of my neighborhood. As … Continue reading A Billion Bits of Randomness
Are we cooking a little more than usual these days? This morning as I scribbled in my journal, instead of asking myself that perennial question I can never seem to answer once and for all (“What do you want to do with your one precious life?”) I asked something a little less anxiety provoking: what … Continue reading Ramen
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and … Continue reading Idle
Peter Gray on the academic kindergarten: Race to the Top; what a horrid metaphor for education. A race? Everyone is on the same track, seeing how fast they can go? Racing toward what? The top? The top of what? Education is not a race, it’s an amble. Real education only occurs when everyone is ambling … Continue reading What Idiots We Are
My friends in Buffalo roll their eyes at how little it takes for us in the Ohio River Valley to call a snow day. A bit of ice on the roads, some flocking on the trees. This morning I looked out the window and said, “Oh, look how pretty.” And took a snow day. It’s one … Continue reading Snow Day
The fleas are tenacious this year. The youngest cat in the household has an allergy to flea bites and he has been miserable with them, but no one’s having an easy time of it. Standard treatments become ineffective as generation after generation of ever-hardier bugs develop resistance to drops, collars, and oral treatments. We’re all … Continue reading Bugs
Assume that your drive to experience pleasure isn’t a barrier to your spiritual growth, but is in fact essential to it. Proceed on the hypothesis that cultivating joy can make you a more ethical and compassionate person. Imagine that feeling good has something important to teach you every day. ~Rob B./Freewill Astrology
It may be the case that expensive cities are killing creativity, but I suspect the real culprit is the belief that you have to live in a certain sort of place in order to create. If you want to have time to make your art, it helps to live somewhere that offers low overhead. Cheap … Continue reading Where Creativity Might Live
Validation: I am a Maker. What about you? (via Swiss Miss)
The co-op had some great oranges this week. Sweet and juicy and altogether perfect. Sometimes one is all I need to feel really happy. Sometimes, it takes two. Paul Jarvis asks, Am I presently happy or do I assume I’ll be happier in the future, and if so, why? Good question(s).
My friend Mychele is a long-time a practioner of kundalini yoga. It was she who introduced me to the phrase “ambrosial hour,” which I immediately loved. The Sikh expression is Amrit Vela, (“nectar time”), an altogether lovely concept, and practice, especially for those who awaken at three or four a.m. and wonder wtf. Bonus Rives: Museum of Four … Continue reading 4 a.m.
I have several alternative lives that exist only in my head. (“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”) In one, I am like Bryan & Jen, who live a nomadic life, build lovely things, and share the details on their blog. … Continue reading The Dangerz
Oliver Burkeman says cut yourself some.