Monthly Archives: November 2013

Dressember Challenge

Hey folks! I wanted to let all my awesome followers know I’ll be participating in Dressember this year.

This will most certainly be a challenge for me, since I am a jeans & t-shirt kinda gal. But I’m gonna give it a whirl. 

Visit my page (https://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/1849/Dressember-for-IJM/) and if you feel so inclined, help me reach my goal! I might also post a picture of my dress of the day, but we’ll see. 

 

Wayward Coffeehouse: My Happy Place

I’m writing this on a Wednesday in the Wayward Coffeehouse. Usually by Wednesday I’ll have some sort of idea swirling around in my noggin to write about. When that doesn’t happen I start to get a little worried. I like to have a rough draft finished by Thursday morning so I have time to do a little editing and proofing. When I’ve got no ideas by Thursday I start to panic a little and think too hard thus crushing any great ideas that might have been bubbling under the surface. So today is Wednesday and Jack is at preschool and I wondered what I was going to write about.

I wondered with a bit of shame if I was going to have to write another “excuse post”. If you’re a regular reader of my blogs I’m sure you’ve seen them. I hate those posts. I hate making excuses. I didn’t want to write an excuse post. But I’m not feeling terribly creative. My energies are being diverted (that’ll happen as the holidays get closer I guess). I’m using all my energy to stay focused on the now instead of worrying about the future and the what if’s in life.

I felt the need to get centered. I needed to regroup and find my happy place. So I went to Wayward Coffeehouse. I know what you’re thinking, ‘she went to a coffeehouse to find peace? WTF is wrong with this girl’. When most people think of getting centered or finding their “happy place” they think of some mystical land that exists in their head. They think of meditation and focusing. Well…at the moment I don’t really have a happy place in my head. “Staci Land” (as it was dubbed long ago by my mom) has been in quite the state lately so meditating and trudging through the sludge of my inner self is not exactly relaxing. I don’t know how to turn off my brain. It just goes, it does what it wants…it’s a rebel.

However, I never feel unhappy when I go to the Wayward. I feel like I can focus there. Maybe it has something to do with not being distracted by stupid things like cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what’s going on, the Wayward never fails to cheer me up. I’ll try to tell you why.

Let’s start with a little history. The Wayward Coffeehouse first opened in the neighborhood of Greenwood in 2005. It opened right around the corner from Jordan and my first apartment. We had eagerly awaited it’s opening and I’m pretty sure we were among its first customers.

From day one I loved, LOVED this place. It’s  a nerdy haven of happy stuff. Star Trek, Star Wars and Firefly are a large part of the decor. They’ve got lovely art on the walls, they host game nights. They’ve had nerdy bingo. It’s just a great place to be. Even during the week in the morning/afternoon there’s a wonderful feeling of welcoming. I never feel awkward or judged walking into this place.

This is the place I wrote two of my novels. Every morning before heading to Taproot Theatre’s box office I would order a coffee and work on my novels for two hours. I wrote the first draft of The Protector and Jude and the Zombies there, sipping my Irish Creme Latte. Wayward is the first place that stocked my Wet Rat articles, before I turned them into a blog. Wayward was also the only place that seemed excited about it and would let me know how often they were being picked up and read.

It felt like a second home, which makes sense, we lived right behind it. Eventually we moved to a small house in Northgate and I couldn’t get to the Wayward as often as I would have liked. Then it suffered smoke  and water damage from a fire next door and had to move to the Roosevelt neighborhood. So I get there even less than before. BUT I’m still remembered by the owner. I even ran into her in the ladies room at ECCC one year and we chatted for like five minutes. It was after that encounter that I knew Wayward would always be like a second home to me.

So when I’m feeling overwhelmed, stifled creatively or just a little sad I know I can get a pick me up if I come here. Not just from the coffee but from the people. Even if the person behind the counter is someone I’ve never met they’re always nice, talkative and engaging.

On top of it being my mecca for well being it’s also kid friendly. Kid friendly in that the baristas are kind to the kids, there’s a little table and some toys. Honestly it’s surprising to me how many coffee shops in Seattle turn their noses up at kids. I know Seattle isn’t the most kid friendly city. (I’m inclined to believe it’s more dog friendly honestly.) So due to the air of general snootiness when it comes to kids it’s nice to have a place where I can bring a book and my kid and relax for awhile without having the staff glaring at me while I finish my coffee.

It’s great having a place to go just to get out of your house when you need it, especially as a single mom. I think it’s important for everyone to have a place like this. Is there a place you feel this way? Where is your second home?

The Good Old Days

ffh

This last week I watched a movie called Far From Heaven. It was set in the 1950’s. I really like watching things set in the 50’s. I liked Far From Heaven and I love Mad Men. It’s fascinating to me to see how far we’ve come from a time that doesn’t seem that far removed from our own.

After I watched Far From Heaven I was chatting with my sister. We were talking about the movie and how people tend to refer to 50’s as a simpler time or the good old days. My sister pointed out how people like to say that but really it wasn’t. There was just as much strife and hardship as now. The difference is that now we have instant access to everything. We see the stuff that makes these days “worse” on a daily basis. In fact, I’m inclined to believe that things have actually gotten much better since the 50’s.

I’ll use Far From Heaven as an example. In the movie a woman catches her husband cheating on her with another man, and then she falls in love with a black man. A double whammy of scandal in the 50’s. What made me so sad are two things; first her husband cheating on her.

It was sad because he tries to get treatment for his “disease”. He tells the doctor that he wants to “beat this thing”. I understand him not wanting to hurt his wife or his family. The problem with the whole situation is 1950’s society viewed homosexuality as a disease. If homosexuality had been viewed as something people are he never would have had to pretend. He never would have married a woman had children and then had to worry about how much he was hurting them. He could have just lived his life, as could his wife.

We’re still not there yet in our own society but I believe we’re making progress. There are still those out there who believe homosexuality is a choice, is immoral and sinful. However, more and more people are beginning to see it simply as the way some folks are. They’re beginning to see that it doesn’t adversely affect them or their children to see two people of the same sex holding hands walking down the street. More people are beginning to see two people in love rather than two girls or two guys holding hands. I believe more parents are teaching their children to love people no matter what and I think that’s important.

The second thing that made me sad is that even though the woman in the movie gets divorced from her husband, she ends up alone at the end. Her love interest has to leave the city because of the abuse his daughter is receiving at school and also because no one is frequenting his business any more. So they both end up alone and far apart at the end. It really bummed me out. I really wanted her to go to his new city to be with him but I realized that it just couldn’t happen. Where ever they went they would be ridiculed and abused.

Now, no one bats an eye when they see an interracial couple. It’s not scandalous or weird, it’s two people in love. I think that’s a great thing! I know there are still racist people out there. This world is so far from perfect. It never will be all butterflies and rainbows because everyone has different ideas about what makes something perfect. Because human beings are involved there will always be hardship. We are flawed creatures, but that doesn’t mean that ignorance and intolerance is bliss.

The world in stark black and white does not make it better. There are no absolutes. There are many people who fall into shades of gray and that’s what makes the world an interesting place to live. Let’s keep working toward loving each other, building each other up instead of looking back at a “simpler” time of black and white. Let’s start embracing all the colors we see out there.

No Post

I thought I might have a post today but Friday came too fast and I don’t. On top of not having anything ready I’m in a bit of funk/foul mood lately so I don’t want to write anything I might wish I hadn’t later. So no post today. Hopefully watching Wall-E with two awesome kiddos will make things brighter.

My Grandpa Roland Stewart

The sound of a coffee grinder running early in the morning with the smell of cinnamon rolls wafting on the air always reminds me of my grandpa. I have many memories of my grandpa and this is one. I can’t be sure if it’s correct, but it’s what my brain tells me is true. It’s Christmas and I wake up to the sound of the coffee grinder. Grandpa is in the kitchen with my mom and grandma. Mom is making cinnamon rolls and grandpa is making coffee. I wish that we’ll be able to open presents before breakfast but I know it’s a wish wasted because we never, ever do; always breakfast first. Mom tries to console my sister and I when we complain and beg saying the grandpa never let them open gifts until after church. I have many memories of my grandpa. He and grandma came down to southern California every Christmas and would usually stay until after my sisters birthday in the spring. Then in the summer we’d visit central Oregon for a month or so. We spent a lot of time with my grandparents considering how far away they lived.

I remember…

Seeing his skull and crossbones tattoo for the first time and thinking how cool my grandpa was. I wondered about it for a long time before I got the story out of my mother when I was a little older. He got the tattoo on skid row in LA (I think) when he was in the service. He was a staff sergeant in the Air Force during World War II. When they were finished with the tattoo they taped a bit of brown paper towel over it and sent him on his way. He was lucky he didn’t get some disease really.

Look at that smile!

Look at that smile!

Seeing an old photo of him for the first time and thinking how handsome he was! Him and my grandma made quite the adorable couple. As a child I don’t think we realize that the older folks in our lives used be young once too. It blew my preadolescent mind to see them young and attractive. It blew my mind even further when I looked at the old photos of my grandpa and immediately understood why my grandma took a shine to him. His smile, the twinkle in his eye, he was irresistible.

I love this photo of my grandparents. They are both so beautiful in this photo!

I love this photo of my grandparents. They are both so beautiful in this photo!

 

His Donald Duck voice. I LOVED that impression. It always made me laugh. He also would use “bleah” as an expletive which I’m told he got from Snoopy. Hearing grandpa say “oh bleah!” is another one of my favorite memories.

This is my all time favorite photo of my grandparents.

This is my all time favorite photo of my grandparents.

 

Going fishing with grandpa. It was at a stocked pond, but it was still so fun to catch, gut and cook those fish. I know my sister and I both looked forward to those outings.

My grandpa lived a long, long life. He died last week at the age of 90. He was many things throughout his life, a son, brother, Reverend, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather. I am sad at his passing. I’m sad that Jack won’t be able to recall the Donald Duck voice, or hear him say “Oh bleah!” or go fishing with him. But in my heart I know my grandpa is happy and at peace. I love you grandpa.

My Grandpa and I back in 2007.

My Grandpa and I back in 2007.