Scarlett’s Letter October 14, 2013

A simple little Monday.

I’m “working” from home this week. I have little bits and pieces of work to do; expense reports, preparing for the upcoming Users Conference and upcoming sessions. Yawn. I am grateful to not be traveling, but that doesn’t mean I relish sitting at home. I have a nice little office in the smaller bedroom, upstairs. It is slightly less cluttered than my bedroom, no boxes of shoes and purses awaiting drawer and closet space that seems ever elusive, and, frankly, unlikely to happen any time soon. So, my office is my “at home refuge”, a place I can go and pretend to be “busy at work” even if I am not. I get asked a few questions, but, mostly, my privacy is respected and I can work, read, write, talk on the phone with my Sweetie, play of social media, mostly uninterrupted. But, to spend day after day, for nearly two weeks solid in my office, without actual client work to do, as in training and consulting via the web, is, well, ludicrous.

So, today, like last week, I struck out for a coffee shop. I am, unofficially, starting “Scarlett Begonia’s Coffee Shop Capers”. Last week was Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, which was delightful, and to which I will happily, occasionally, return. Today, however, I stumbled upon, thanks to Yelp, Molinari Caffee on Main Street in Napa. I loved this place before I ever set foot inside. It had curb appeal! Inside was such a treat, it was like it was built especially for me! An orange accent wall, and I’m with Elle Woods of Legally Blonde, orange is the new pink. Pink is my favorite color, next to scarlet, of course, but orange is a very close third. There was some fantastic art displayed, modern furnishings including a couch and armchair sitting area, a community table, and the requisite café tables for two to four coffee drinkers. The counter was neat and clean, well-organized and I loved that the cabinet facing was chalkboard, listing their offerings. The best part, by far, the very best part of the whole place, a TV hung in the sitting area with black and white Gilligan’s Island programs playing continuously and inobtrusively. I could tune into the dialogue if I chose, or listen to the 70’s music overhead. Happy. So happy. And my café au lait was sublime.

Cool coffee shop on Main Street in Napa, Molinari Caffe
Cool coffee shop on Main Street in Napa, Molinari Caffe

The crowd consisted of a couple of obvious regulars, me, a wanna-be regular, and a whole bunch of tourists asking a whole bunch of dumb questions, like, “can we walk to wineries from here?”  The answer was, of course, “no.” I suggested the several tasting rooms, but they wanted to go to wineries, in Napa, and they didn’t want to have to drive. They were quite insistent, like the world would meld to their will because it’s what they wanted. “But we don’t want to drive!” Believe me, we don’t want you to drive either, but let’s apply a wee bit of logic, shall we? Wine is made from grapes, grapes grow on vines. It takes lots of grapes to make a little wine, so, it takes lots of vines to supply a winery. Acres and acres of vines. Therefore, wineries are sort of spread out, like ranches, or farms. Got it? I concluded my involvement after the first little foot stomp, toss of the hair and whine, “but we don’t want to drive.” Buh-bye. Suddenly too busy with my computer and phone to talk. Involvement = over. YOYO (you’re on your own).

Non stop Gilligan's Island at Molinari Caffe!
Non stop Gilligan’s Island at Molinari Caffe!
Molinari Caffe, Napa
Molinari Caffe, Napa
Molinari Caffe
Molinari Caffe
My office for the day, Molinari Caffe.
My office for the day, Molinari Caffe.

 

So, other than the tempestuous tourists, my morning was delightful and I got quite a lot accomplished. Famished and on a budget this week, a money budget and a dietary budget, I’ve been spending far too much money and far too many calories dining out as of late, I headed home for a sandwich mid-day. I finished my open-faced salmon salad sandwich, with jarred salmon I personally beheaded and gutted along the banks of the Copper River at Chitina in Alaska. So good! So good! So good! I’m spoiled. So spoiled! So spoiled! So spoiled!

I still did not relish the idea of working all afternoon from home. I had grocery shopping for the week to do, so I tossed my computer bag in the car and headed for Whole Foods. I stopped in at Target first for a $1.59 item I need for an upcoming video project. Please, please, please don’t ask me how I ended up with three adorable T-shirts and two packages of $1.59 items instead of one. In the name of art, in the name of art. I promise. I made my way to Whole Foods, and, by the way, thank you to the genius who decided to put Target and Whole Foods in the same parking lot for me! Thank you! I grabbed my computer, found the table with the outlet strategically hidden under the chair and made myself quite at home for the next couple of hours. When I finished what I was working on, I unplugged, gathered my pile of Apple electronics, placed them all in my tote for the day, one I bought from a street vendor in Tribeca in NYC, and found myself a shopping cart. I stuck to my list for the week, hearing Jillian Michaels words ringing in my ears, “if you can afford $20 extra per week for groceries to buy organic, you’ll end up saving money in the long run, on medical costs.” My argument exactly, thank you! Twenty bucks is, what, a co-pay. I’d rather spend it now and bank on the fact that I’ll have less co-pays to pay in the future for my preference for clean eating. Off soap box, now, on to shopping. My entire week’s groceries last week, between two stores, including Whole Foods, $60. This week $84. I was out of local, organic honey, a “large ticket” item. In all honesty, I probably spend more on wine in a week than I do food. Priorities = straight.

I take my computer tote and my perishables out to my car, climb in, open the sun roof and turn my face skyward towards the warm sunshine. October is absolutely the best time of year here. The best. I am reminded of being in high school; the dismissal bell has rung, it is fall, the weather is exactly as it is right now, sunny and warm, but not at all hot. School is over for the day, there may or may not be any homework to do, but it can wait until dark if there is. And in the worst way, I don’t want to go home. I just want to stay out in the sunshine, with my friends, and find something, anything at all, to do, other than go home and do chores and homework. I feel no different now, thirty some years later, than I did then. No different. Is it at all ironic that in high school my friend drove a Honda Civic with a sunroof and I am, now, sitting in a Honda Civic with a sunroof? Funny, right?

I head home. I pull into the driveway, grab my groceries and my computer bag, and as I step from the car. I quickly toss my groceries into my fridge and my allotted cupboard space in the garage, run upstairs and trade my computer bag for my gym bag. Before the radiator fan in my car has even shut off, I’m back on the road and headed for the gym. Today is upper back and cardio day.

It’s dusk when I get home, I cook dinner, tie up a few loose ends with some articles I worked on today, work on a couple of video projects from the weekend and call my Sweetie. It has been a very ordinary, and yet, extraordinary day. It’s the extraordinary I strive for, and that is my hope for the day, that in some way, however great or small, that we all find a way to make each and every day extraordinary. Even the ordinary ones. It doesn’t take much, a thought, a creative notion; find a new coffee shop to stop at on the way to work. We aren’t obligated to always go to Starbuck’s, their consistency is great, but there are lots of great, local spots to be found with so much to offer. Find a new place to work, even at the office. Is there a cafeteria or a sunny meeting room you can take your computer for a change of scenery? It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for the creative process. And, I’m sorry, whether you’re an accountant or a truck driver, there is creativity involved in your process, whether you realize it or not. How about finding a new spot to eat lunch? Even if you brown bag it. If I had brown bagged my lunch today, I’d have eaten at the park, downtown, by the river. Just a thought. Change things up in a small way to make your day extraordinary. One extraordinary day after another builds an extraordinary life. It’s all up to you.

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