Make Mine Mocha

As many of you now know, I am working at a very popular local coffee shop. We don’t have any retail chain stores here on the island, so ours isn’t a name you know, but we’re a Friday Harbor hotspot just the same. I love people, so for the most part serving customers is a blast. There’s a lot of humor and laughter shared over the counter.

However, there are always exceptions. Recently a very angry fellow came to the walk up window. I flashed a bright smile and said, “How may I help you?”

He shrieked, “What did you do with the ferry?!”

I responded (quite bewildered), “Excuse me?”  I am a barista in a coffee shop.  I wear a cute little green checkered apron with roses on it.  I make coffee and serve ice cream.  I obviously have no control over the ferry.

The man, red in the face with a little vein throbbing in his forehead, yelled, “A minute ago there was a ferry at the dock. Now it’s gone. I just went into the store for a minute.  What did you do with the ferry?!”

I so wanted to say, “What?!  Did it sink again?!”

I figured that response would get me strangled, so I gave the man a ferry schedule and told him when the next ship would dock.  I hope he figured out on his own that when one’s ship comes in, one should get on it post-haste!

Blessed: Living a Grateful Life

How much tea can one pour from a pot without refilling it? No matter the capacity of the container, sooner or later it will empty of it is not replenished.  The same can be said of the compassion of women.  As wives, mothers, friends and community members women often work selflessly and tirelessly to meet the needs of others while neglecting their own need to be nurtured.

Ellen Michaud has focused her life on celebrating and supporting strong women who support others.   Her latest book, Blessed: Living a Grateful Life, Michaud invites her readers to explore and enjoy the everyday blessings that surround us.  Replenishing our own reservoirs of strength needn’t take weeks or days or even hours.  A few moments spent here and there truly noticing and appreciating our family, friends, community, and environment can fulfill us in ways no vacation ever can.

Each chapter in Blessed is a story unto itself complete with refreshment for our souls and lessons on embracing our blessings.  Each reading is a two to three page vacation from our own daily stress.  I have enjoyed these readings every morning either with or in place of my daily devotional.

About the Book:
Sometimes we just need to stop for a moment and absorb the quiet moments in the world around us–to take a deep breath and appreciate the things in life that make us thankful and bring us joy. In this heartfelt collection of her online columns from Diane, the flagship magazine of the Curves women’s fitness center organization, author Ellen Michaud reminds us of the everyday blessings that surround us, but we all tend to overlook.

Entries include:

  • Summer in a Jar: On a 200-acre farm known for its Jersey cows and prizewinning cheese, two women harvest a cornucopia of produce that looks like it came from the Garden of Eden. Although the visit was intended to pick up ingredients for “one of the finest salsas in the near world,” the end result is a view of a fertile valley, the rich smell of vegetables freshly tugged from the earth that speaks to the soul, and the natural rhythm of friendly conversation.
  • The Teapot: During a snowy winter storm, the author pulls her great- grandmother’s worn silver teapot down from a shelf. As she polishes the teapot’s tarnished surface, she contemplates its long journey over an ocean and through the generations. As she discovers engraved hallmarks that lead to a deeper understanding of its 200-year history, her appreciation for the women who traveled with it grows.
  • Welcome Home: As an Airbus 321 begins its descent toward the coastal lights of Los Angeles International Airport, the pilot makes an overhead announcement that stills the restless and rustling passengers. What follows are moments of contemplation about the sacrifices of soldiers and, how regardless of one’s politics, there is still a shared sense of love and respect for those who fight for our freedom.
  • The Courage to Change: After a lifetime of self-built barriers, the author’s 88-year-old aunt overcomes discouraging memories and years of grief to prove that it’s never too late to open yourself to new experiences, take risks, and start over.
Ellen & Meggie -- photo by Peter Chin

Ellen & Meggie photo by Peter Chin

About the Author:
Ellen Michaud is an award-winning author and editor who lives high in the mountains of Vermont. Her work focuses on women’s stories, and has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, Health Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Men’s Health, Readers’ Digest Magazine, and Prevention Magazine, where she was the editor-at-large for six years. Today she not only writes for these and other media, she is also an online columnist at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Ruby Mansuri of FSB Associates.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Toe-tally Sore!

My toe hurts. Big surprise since I had the toenail pried off of it yesterday. Because the doctor knew my toe would hurt she gave me a prescription for Vicodin. Nice stuff. My toe still hurts, but I don’t really care.

However, why would the doctor tell me to stay off my feet as much as possible the first day, and prescirbe me Vicodin? You see, one of the side-effects of Vicodin is an incredible thirst. The stuff literally sucks the moisture from my mouth, so I pour more in.

I am certain you’re aware of the most immediate side-effect of drinking pints of water every hour — I have to go to the bathroom. That, of course, means I have to get up and move. A lot. Like now.

The Vanishing Quilldancer

Regular followers of this site and/or the dudes have probably noticed that, on several occasions lately, you, ah, can’t follow these sites.

No, the computers haven’t caught the same virus that’s been bugging Q lately. Nice try, though. And yes, she’s recovering nicely, thank goodness.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba posted an explanation here; should it happen again, word will (we hope) appear there again. For all that this anti-tweeter and accidental-billionaire phobe knows, Quilly’s getting the word out via those apps as well.

Have patience, Prudence. It’s not our fault. Really.

Brain Freeze x2

I was asked to run the church’s brand new audio-visual equipment for our second Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (more about that here — The Christmas Party).  I practiced, and I practiced, and I marveled over the state-of-the-art equipment and the primo presentation software.  I knew what I was doing and I was all set to go.  Sylvia had stressed to me how important it was to stay focused, and I already knew a bit about that because I often ran the A/V stuff at Heritage UMC in Vegas.

I was diligent.  Everything from “Welcome” to Pastor’s sermon went smooth as silk.  During Pastor’s sermon the screen goes dark, and I managed to listen to the message and still be ready for my cue to bring the Nicene Creed up for Communion.  After the Nicene Creed, when Communion was actually being served and the music team was playing, the screen goes dark again.

When it was time for the screen to come up again, I was Janey-on-the spot.  As is common in many churches, we ended the Candlelight service in candlelight and singing Silent Night.  It is a wonderful tradition and I love it.  Despite being at the controls I stood and sang the first verse along with everyone else in the sanctuary.  As singers we moved on to the second verse, but the screen did not change!  I frowned.  What on earth was wrong with the system?  Not now, I thought.  And then it dawned on me that the only thing wrong with the equipment was that the operator hadn’t pushed the “next” button.  Oops.  That’s me! PUSH!

Sunday Sylvia was still off-island visiting her family, and the Pastor’s wife was to operate the machine.  We’d trained together and before the service she went over everything with me again.  She was set and I knew she would do a good job because she’s one of those competent people that make the most challenging things seem easy.

The “Welcome” screen came up right on time and remained up during the pre-service messages.  Then the praise music started.  Everyone stood, the Praise Band started the first song … and the welcome sign remained on the screen.  I looked over my shoulder.  No one was in the audio-visual booth.  Oh-oh.

I figured that the pastor’s wife, because she is the pastor’s wife, was called away on an urgent duty and hadn’t gotten back in time.  I stood and made my way to the back of the church.  Halfway down the isle I see the PW standing off to the side at the back.  She flashed me a bright smile and waved.

I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I pointed at the screen where the welcome sign still glowed.  She did the Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” Face Slap and then ran for the A/V booth.  I chuckled my way back to my seat.  After church was over we both decided it wasn’t so bad not being perfect if we could be not-perfect together.