Monday, October 21, 2013

The Possibility of Sunday Moments

Today I am grateful…for family, for friends, for the mischievous host at Café Medina who always calls me a trouble maker when I arrive with friends for breakfast. I hadn’t been for a while and today was a perfect day to go. There is something about a local haunt where you can say the words ‘I’ll have my usual” that warms my soul and leaves me smiling.

I have taken first dates here in the past because there is always a line-up, usually a long one and it just happens to be outside. While I do not advocate putting people to the test, I learn so much about an individual just by observing how they handle the wait.

There are those who take one look at the mini mob hovering in front of the eclectic Cross-town café on Beatty St and immediately shake their head. They are saying no way even before we have put our name on the list and get the estimate of wait time. They insist we walk somewhere else. This has happened more than once and I know there is nowhere nearby. I say so and they ignore the Intel and plod ahead anyway.

 If I have an initial good hit, meaning I think I may like them I will indulge and follow with a knowing shrug until we inevitably circle the hood and find ourselves back where we started. Luckily I have already left our name at the door so now I would order us some coffees and bring them out to drink while we stand on the street. Of course on a sunny day this is no hardship, in the cold or rain it adds new dimensions to the tolerance meter.

Normally when I come for breakfast I have a system that keeps my wait to a minimum and involves getting there just before it opens, but first encounters do not tend to respond well to a 9 am rendezvous so we usually arrive around mid day. By then there can be up to as many as 10 parties or more in front of us. This can translate to an hour wait. A take out cup of coffee is a non negotiable part of this routine.

The whole neighborhood is heritage, the lavender latte is the best in town and stimulating conversation is my forte. What could go wrong?

Darting eyes are a deal breaker. If they can’t engage for an hour with curiosity and focus I would hazard a guess that their attention span is short, their patience level is zero or they don’t find me or what I am saying particularly interesting. All three choices are red flags. . 

Now you might be thinking, poor guy having to go through these hoops but honestly my questions have depth and curiosity is my nature. If you are not keen on delving beneath the surface in our initial conversation we are probably not a great match. Even if the chemistry works at the start of a relationship the likelihood of reactivity when I really get deep later in the relationship is high.  This dynamic does not whisper longevity, it screams run!

So I watch. I make jokes. I may even resort to a little physical contact, playful teasing and intriguing innuendo. Ok not real innuendo since I have never been good at this. I don’t really understand why guys like this type of interaction so much. I tend to be a bit more direct and say what I mean. But I give the interaction a full on shot. I risk. I roll.

So, there we are. Picture it. Twenty to thirty very diverse people hanging out with various degrees of willingness to engage. To me this spells party! If my date finds the whole process too much of an ordeal I can safely assume that chilling is not a common activity they indulge in. I lean against the brick wall cupping my drink with gloved hands. "It’s worth it," I say with my best come hither smoky eyes. If this does not produce at least a minor uplifting twitch of the corner of their mouth I start to think we may be in trouble.

Our host exists the café periodically and calls out names and numbers. My name is called, followed by “Oh she only wants the back.” This is the moment of truth. If he has a tantrum because we could be inside menu gazing already and I have put us down for seating in the sunny and infinitely quieter back room, which takes even longer, there is not much to be done.
Depending on the size of the reaction this could signal, as it did on one occasion, the end of the date before we even get to the tagine of eggs, merguez sausage, Moroccan olives and grilled forcaccia or the delectable Belgium waffles with toppings to stir the heart from chocolate and lavender to raspberry carmel or fig orange marmalade.
d eggs, spicy tomato stew, red pepper, merguez sausage, moroccan olives, cilantro. Grilled focaccia. Tagine142 poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, red pepper, merguez sausage, moroccan olives, cilantro. Grilled focaccia.Tagine142 poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, red pepper, merguez sausage, moroccan olives, cilantro. Grilled focaccia. You really can’t hear a thing in the front part of the restaurant so no matter how good the food, yelling to be heard is just not an inviting way to get to know each other.

The worst encounters involve much foot shuffling, eye rolling and heavy sighs as if the burden of waiting is too much to bear. The best kind of experience, one that tells me that there might be some potential for us, is a person who engages with me and even is willing to chat with the Vancouverites and tourists around us.

We all laugh and make comments when names are called that are no longer waiting. They gave up and abandoned what we seasoned patrons know to be one of the best breakfasts in town.  It also means we move up the line so we get giddy muttering "Dave’s not here man." and smiling widely at each other. We are all in the same boat and that sameness generates comradery, if you have a sense of humor, a modicum of openness and an innate sense of ease in the present moment.

Those are qualities I look for in a person. I like people who are present and can flow with whatever is happening. That level of adaptability goes a long way when times get tough. At this age I want a co conspirator in adventure not another person who is trying to create a safe box of comfort to age in.

I hear my name ring out…loud and clear in the crisp fall air. "That’s me." I whoop, raising my arms and high fiving as we saunter into the place. The host winks again at my friend. "Yup she’s trouble." he says, as if sending a declaration that spontaneity will reign today.   I love it!

And in the lovely bright back room I order my usual and get down to the art of conversation.

Branded by pleasure,

Authentically Yours,




Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Divine Miss Em.

Yesterday I had a surprise visit from a good friend and his daughter while I was at work. I hadn’t seen her for quite some time and it was a lovely little reunion. It occurred to me that I should tell her just what her visit meant to me. Being Thanksgiving, what better time to express gratitude?  (I’m going to ask her Dad to give this to her when it looks like she needs it most – maybe a few years down the road).

Dear Emily,

It was on Saturday of the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend.  You and your dad dropped in for a visit on your way to the Sunshine Coast. You didn’t know what was going on in my heart, but I was a little sad, having just come back from visiting my son’s bench in Whistler.  I find holidays tough, and miss him more than usual. And then in you walked, with the biggest smile on your face, offering the most needed thing in that moment – a big hug from a little person. It brought me back to those days when the boys would nearly knock me over when I’d get home from work and I’d pick them up in my arms and nose-to-nose, find out what monkey business they had been up to that day.

We talked about your sparkly nail polish, how you could understand French, and you played with a little dog named Otis, who had come in to do a bit of shopping while you were here. (Remember?  He had crooked front legs, and you thought he was pretty cute.) Then off you ran (after a couple more delicious hugs) to catch your ferry.

You might wonder why I’m telling you this… I asked your dad to hold on to this letter and give it to you when you needed a boost.  I want you to know that your simple gesture meant the world to me that day and I’m sure you had no idea. I want you to know that you cheered me up that day beyond measure.  I want you to know that you matter. And I thought there might just come a day when you needed to be reminded of that.

You made a difference to me that day Emily, and I’ll always remember those hugs (and that little pink hat you were wearing too). Here’s a picture of my little guy and me at the beach many years ago… it captures the feeling you helped to bring back to life that day.

Thank you, my Divine Miss Em.


Authentically yours,


P.S.  Of course, this wouldn’t be complete without a tune... 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013



When I feel like I have it all together I tend to move quickly flying from one adventure to another. The fun factor is high and laugher is the accompanying sound track. This kind of living has that lightness of being that confirms the universe has my back. Everything seems to fall into place so easily, from synchronistic events to parking spots. It just flows and the unexpected is embraced with the knowing that all is well.

Then there are times like now when life is filled with hurt or loss. The circumstance calls for a unique kind of attention. Acceptance is essential  especially since I really don’t have much choice in the matter and when the feeling of helplessness comes up for me, no matter how much work I have done on embracing all parts of myself, this part still feels like wading through molasses.

I have written before about how inviting deeper divine essence into the moment impacts my perception and broadens the meaning I attach to it. The divine is me and looking through those eyes will always expand awareness. Yet when I think of how the divine might approach times that are not easy I cannot help but know that avoiding them is not on the menu.

 I am noticing that there are people who seem to believe that simply stepping into the light is the way to alleviate pain and remember the truth about ourselves and others in this world of illusion. I sense a possible value judgment in that approach. It is as if they are indirectly indicating that the vibration of light is better or higher than feeling life’s challenges.  While I can agree that it is different and important to be in touch with, I cannot accept that it is better. Any kind of polarization of good and bad, better than, less than, is ultimately  not serving the force for expansion.  Or at least it doesn’t in my world. As soon as I strive to be something other than what I am feeling in the moment I am giving myself a message that the way I am is not ok. I will no longer do that.

Sure it feels wonderful to be cradled in bliss and oneness and yet the necessary embrace of shadow and pain brings its own kind of excruciating expansion. I don’t think we get to bypass this state. We are not called to go over it but rather through it. For me that thickness of pain can crack like no other state and reveal our essence.

 Some say that grief makes ones heart bigger. I say that grief reveals the bigness that is already there. The necessary price is feeling it all.

Branded by acceptance,

Authentically Yours,