Just A Little Coffee Thing – Fiction Part 2

Photo by Eric BARBEAU on Unsplash

She did notice him, though, when she came out of the door, yelping in surprise as he leaned next to the opening. She didn’t have any more time to get out more than the shriek before Gerrit grabbed her clipboard and pen and tossed it to the counter. She watched the pen roll off just as Gerrit’s palm enclosed around hers and he swung her around in a spin. He pulled her close and slow danced with her to a Crystal Gayle song.

“Gerrit,” Hela protested, pushing on hand against his chest and tugging against the hand he gripped. Her heart was pounding and to say butterflies were taking flight in her stomach was an understatement. She shivered as she felt his other palm, quite warm, settle against her waist.

“What?” was his innocent reply.

Hela did not believe a minute of his wide blue eyes.

“Oh stop struggling. You love this song. You sing it whenever it comes on, you always spin around and glide through like you’re on stage.”

“Twirl.”

“What?”

“I don’t spin, I twirl,” she corrected.

“I beg pardon. You twirl,” he teased, then released her waist to twirl her around again, before catching her and dipping her back. She was laughing but when his face was inches from hers she thought in an instate he might kiss her. His eyes flashed to her open mouth then back to her eyes, but he quickly righted her and they went back to dancing, the song now a one.

“You are stressing too much, Helena, he said, using the name no one ever called her, except for close friends or family. She looked up at him ready to argue and deny it.

“Oh, no, you are not going to get out of this one. I’ve been here three weeks, and you are like a time bomb waiting to go off. Or on pins and needles. I’m not sure which, but you know you are doing amazing, don’t you?”

She stared at him. “Um.” She bit her lip. She always felt like she was falling apart. Snapping at line chefs, getting impatient with the pantry girl, ready to throw her hands up at servers who asked bizarre questions. Constantly thinking about the new menu and the changes in flow. She was mentally exhausted and she felt like she was cracking at the seams.

“You are. You’re keeping things running smooth. You’re good, Hel. You’re a whiz at plating, you can take over the line when one of the guys is in the weeds or goes down. Organized, on your toes, you leave me amazed at how you keep things flowing in this madhouse. You’re already better than you think.”

Hela couldn’t respond. She had hoped someone had noticed. Micah had been her person to work with, but even he had sometimes left her wondering if she was as good as she hoped. She and Gerrit worked well together, like she and Micha could. Quiet, handing each other things as they needed it without even a word. Notes on boards were underlined from agreements; they could bounce ideas off each other like two kids playing catch.

“Obviously you doubt yourself too much.” He gave her a chastising look, as he spun them around. “Stop.”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Obviously you don’t know how my brain works,” was her caustic reply.

“I do. More than you know.” He grinned, his eyes twinkling. “Now, what was that thing about something sweet?”

 

So part two, mostly because it was a 1200 word document. Thought it might overwhelm you all.  Like I said, I’d like someone I could relate to at night when I close. Currently I can’t relate to anyone. At least on the level I’m at. But one can dream of a dream chef and dream team and someone I might have as a close colleague. One day.

Kate

Just A little Coffee Thing – Fiction Part 1

Photo by Shotlist on Unsplash

The restaurant was empty but for Carlos polishing glasses at the bar and Johnboy mopping the front dining while Hela and Gerrit went over new ideas for the upcoming menu. Prep lists, schedules, ordering, and a menu marked up, crossed out and notes scribbled in the margins. A giant whiteboard leaned against shelves on a prep station and occasionally one or both of them would walk over and scribble something else on the entire menu written out in black dry erase marker. The notes were in red and blue; for Gerrit and Hela, respectively.

Hela had teased Carlos into playing something new tonight. The “Bread” station was on and now the two of them were humming and singing their way through 1970s classic light rock. Ambrosia, Dan Fogelberg, Randy Vanwarmer, and other smooth classics. Hela had finally parted from her whites, slipping into a loose white gauze button down, the front tails tucked into her sensible slacks. She’d pulled out the plethora of bobby pins, groaning at the release of tension from all the metal bits biting into her scalp. A sharp pencil replaced the pins, turning her mass of kinked hair into a messy bun, tendrils brushing her cheeks and neck. She’d also snuck into her locker in the office and grabbed her moka pot. She needed something better than the sludge sitting in the pot for the last two hours since the last guests had left.

She hummed to the music as she heated water on the closest gas range and rooted through the lowboy in the pastry section for her hidden stash of Guatemalan dark roast coffee. Fingers tamped down the grounds, a towel to remove the nearly boiling water. The moka pot was back on a low blue flame as she went out to the bar and snagged four coffee cups. She grabbed some spoons, a carton of cream, a ramekin of sugar, then back over to grab the now spitting pot.

She didn’t see Gerrit watching her quietly from the whiteboard. He held a clipboard and pen where he had been marking the garnishes they had in stock and what he wanted to use next. He grinned, nearly laughing when she groaned after running the base of the pot under cold water at a prep sink. She set the pot down on a towel and marched out to the bar then came back with a shot glass. She measured out two shots of rich coffee to three cups, then glanced up in his direction.

“You want?” she waggled the shot glass in her hand and held the spout over it.

“Sure.”

She poured two more shots and added them to the fourth cup.

“Carlos! Johnboy! Espresso’s up!” She had more water simmering on the stove and she topped off her cup with that, adding a pinch of sugar and a very light dollop of cream. “Fix yours how you like,” she directed at Gerrit.

She stirred her cup while she watched Gerrit add a generous spoonful of sugar and only a splash of water. She made a face when Gerrit downed half the cup. Carlos came through the swinging doors baring a tall highball glass of peach effervescent liquid, a lime wedge suspended between the ice cubes. He handed it to Hela who tilted her head in thanks.

Gerrit frowned.

“Bitters and soda,” She clarified. “I mix my drinks.”

Johnboy and Carlos fixed their coffees and headed back out to the front of house. “I’ll have something sweet in a while,” Hela called after them, Johnboy grinning at her statement.

They went back to their notes. Carlos changed the station and a Juice Newton song played Hela didn’t see Gerrit watching her as she hummed and swayed as she wrote things down, stopping for random sips of coffee and her soda water. Nor did she see him grin as she sang a few lyrics and swayed her way into the produce walk-in…..

 

I was missing work the other day and I had this thought about how I’d love to have a good moka pot at work. A nice Bialetti, for when the sludge in the pot has been sitting for hours. Normally I use the French press, which is fine, but it’s still not quite like how I like my coffee. I’d love to have a nice Chef at night that I could work over prep, orders, and ideas, and drink a good cup of coffee. But no one I work with appreciates coffee at night quite like I do.  Oh, and part two is in the next post.

Oh, and if anyone notices my conflicting verb usage, would you please point it out. I have issues with passive voice. Bleh, and mixing my verbage.

PAD Day 27 – Take off – My Assistant is Never Around

A few years ago when the Gevalia commercials came around with Johan, I joked that his brother Sven was my assistant. Sven, I imagined was like Alexander Skarsgård and I was always shouting out for ‘Sven! Come and do (blank)!” Sven, unfortunately was never around. He couldn’t even brew me a cup of coffee. He and Johan spend their days drinking coffee and making sure their pretty boy faces are never damaged.

A friend has her maid, Maxine, who is just like Sven. Totally useless. On the plus side, we don’t pay them. So they are doing an honest day’s no work…..

 

My Assistant is Never Around

Sven, my assistant, is taking today off
not that he’s ever been much of a help
sitting around drinking my coffee instead
of bringing me a cup or two, I blame his
brother Johann who works for Gevalia
lazy good for nothing gorgeous men
who are too consumed with themselves
Instead of mowing lawns or heavy work
instead of being at my beck and call
instead of doing anything worth while
I hired Sven cause he’s a good lookin’ guy
who I thought would bring me coffee in bed
and do all the heavy lifting I’m not willing
to do, but instead I’m doing it instead.
So he’s rather useless, and I pay him
too much, but what can I do, he’s a
pretty boy I like to watch move around
Ah, I might want to fire him, but why
when he doesn’t cost me a dime?

Morning in Prose – Poetry

Winter DaysI’m not awake as I wait for the coffee to perk, my dog trying to make sure I love him with head-butts nd snuffles since he is why I’m up; he knows I wanted to sleep in as we now sit crashed on a sofa, him under my old baby quilt, fast asleep and cozy while I’m bleary-eyed waiting for the only thing that makes the mornings tolerable, while outside the sun shines warm, trying to beat back the cold north wind of a blustery March day, trying to be spring as winter hangs on with sharp, clutching nails, though the violets seem oblivious to the cold as their warm, sweet scent floats up, mocking the cold.

Now the mountains are shrouded in mist and cold, a wild needle-like wind bites and sinks into the skin, and I feel like I’m back in January while the calendar says spring is moments away, or years, or just days…. Only the weather seems to know what the mornings shall bring…..

 

Just a bit of prose, I think.

Kate

Positivity – Day No. 1

Here is day one of my 31 Days in October. Ironically, I chose positivity to be my first post about a month ago. The irony is trying to stay positive knowing as I write this that I have 30 more posts I have to write and I’m not as far along as I had hoped. I have semi started three posts and it’s only  four days until this post is actually going to go online.  (I’m tapping it out on a Sunday trying to get ahead of the game. Yikes!) So here goes.

Positivity is something that seems to be a trait inherent to women. We are supposed to be positive. Have a positive outlook on life. Project positivity in all we do. But sometimes we aren’t. In fact, I would bet you that most women are positive less than 50% of the time. No, this is not an actual statistic; just some common sense and looking at my own life. Men can be moody, and suddenly they are mysterious. Women are moody and it’s PMS.  I’m sorry, but it’s hard to stay positive when 5 days out of every month (this is lowballing it. I would go more like 12 days out of the month)  things are not working quite in tandem with actually feeling good.  (I feel like I should cue Michael Buble and have him sing his ‘Feeling Good’ song.)

I was listening to Joy the Baker’s podcast, No. 125 yesterday…. Okay it was actually in late August…. so yesterday means the 26th of August…. moving on.  In it, Joy and her cohost, Tracy, were talking about how to stay positive when things are getting to you. It all had to do with New Orleans and the ‘stabby’ season. It’s so hot you want to just stab something. (To get the full effect of what I’m talking about, listen to the podcast)

So what do you do when you are not so positive? For me, music is huge. I have my sad songs, my jazz songs, my pop, and if I need a boost, I turn to various songs. I can’t pick anything in particular, but something with a good beat. Lately, my need for music has been higher than usual. I have needed some ‘downtime’ in which I can just chill. Granted, my chilling is while hanging laundry, or cleaning chicken pans.

Sometimes finding the little things in life are good for a positive boost. Like taking a picture of a favorite subject…… for me this is pretty much flowers, flowers, bees, and more flowers.

Flowers fix everything.  Which reminds me of Anna Kendrick in her Miss Adventure for Kate Spade.  See?

 

All ways to keep very positive in my mind.

In the podcast, both the gals were talking about rosewater as a way to stay positive. Personally, while I love rosewater, I won’t use it on my face.  But I love essential oils and they keep my mind happy.  Fresh scents most of the time. I love Rosemary and Lemon. Citrus oils are my friend. All time favorite oil I think is Lime. It smells like you just grated lime peel.  Yep, that’s a good way to stay positive.

And lastly, while these items might seem cliche, they work.   Exercise.  I run, or bike, or yoga.  That endorphin/adrenaline boost  is really powerful.   And coffee. Or tea. You can never have enough coffee or tea in my mind. Men drink alcohol…. women drink tea.

How do you stay positive?

 

Plank Challenge: 20 seconds

Kate

Dutch Pancake – Flash Fiction

Updated 4/26/15, for Sunday breakfast

Updated 4/26/15, for Sunday breakfast

“Can I get you something to drink? Coffee, tea, water, beer….” Phil trailed off as he watched Emma inspect his bookshelf.

“You drink tea?” she asked as she looked back at him over her shoulder.

He shrugged.  “Sometimes.”

“I’d love some coffee,” Emma answered and pulled out a book with a red spine.  “Do you happen to have eggs, milk, flour, and a skillet?” she asked as if inspired by something.

“Uh…. What?” Phil stared at her dumbfounded as he pulled coffee from the freezer.

“Do you have all of those things?” Emma asked again, enunciating each word carefully as if he was a child.

“Yeah. I do. Why?”

“Excellent.  How long does your coffee take to make?”  Then she noticed he had set out a stove-top percolator.  “Oh, at least fifteen minutes, yes?”

“Um. Yes.”  She was worrying him a bit with her cavalier manner and random questions.

“Good. Pull out the skillet and let me work.”  She seemed all business as she pushed up her sleeves, metaphorically since she was wearing a sleeveless top over tan chinos.

He fixed the coffee, putting it on his gas range to perk while he watched her rummage in his fridge pulling out eggs, milk and butter. Then she was pulling out bowls, a whisk and mixing flour and sugar while beating eggs and milk in another bowl. The butter went into the skillet which in turn ended up in the oven turned up high.

She found his small bottle of vanilla hiding amongst the salt and pepper in his ‘spice’ cabinet.  He ignored her muttered comment about ‘men and their lack of proper cooking spices’.  He was rather mystified by her mixing.

When everything was combined, she yanked the skillet out of the oven and poured the batter into the pan, popped it back into the oven and set a timer.

“That’ll be ready in no time. Do you have jam or powdered sugar?” at his negative shake she frowned.  “Maple syrup?”

“Yes.”

“That’ll do.”  She rinsed everything then wandered back to his bookshelves.

She was rather a conundrum in his mind.  She worked outside most of her day in dirt and soil, but she wore diamond drop earrings.

“Just rhinestones,” she corrected.

She wore sturdy pants and a chambray sleeveless top; riding boots.  But he caught a hint of lace hiding beneath the shirt.  Why would someone getting dirty outside wear lacy lingerie underneath?

She was prim and proper with her attitude and spoke without cursing, though she did let a swear word out as she commented about something she hated.  She read naughty books but liked to write clean and elegant poetry.  She admired his Varga paintings, and liked some of his more ‘risque’ books, but she looked like she stepped out of a Norman Rockwell.  Or something that would be considered ladylike.  A study in contradiction.

She was gleeful when the timer rang and she opened the door to the oven, shielding the contents from him.  Then he was utterly surprised at the giant puffed up pastry, or whatever she had made, that was practically escaping from the pan.

“It’s a Dutch pancake,” she answered his minor shock.  She directed him to get plates and forks while she cut the pastry and the whole thing collapsed.  The doused their halves of the pancake with the fake syrup in his cupboard and carried their plates and cups of coffee out to the deck, sitting in the mid-afternoon sun overlooking the mountain lake.

His first mouthful was pure decadence. Not too rich or sweet, but oh so satisfying.  He caught her grin as she bit into a dainty bite of hers.

“I moaned, didn’t I?” he asked.

She giggled.  “You did, but I’m glad you like it.  It’s my specialty.”

“Well you do a damn fine job of it.”

“Thank you.”

“I may have to keep you around,” he said as he devoured his piece.

“I may let you,” she teased.

The thing was, he wasn’t teasing……………

Ah, flash fiction…. sometimes it comes out perfectly.  This was inspired by a recent thought and my new love of Dutch pancakes that I make almost daily for my family. There is something so magical about eggs, milk, flour, sugar and butter that puff up to something so ooey gooey yumminess.  For those interested, I highly recommend King Arthur Flour’s recipe but up the sugar. I don’t use lemon, but it’s a personal thing. I really suggest you try it.

Lemon Puff Pancake with Fresh Berries

Or try this one that I think might be better.

Dutch Baby Recipe

As of 4/26/15, I have modified the recipe using both of the links I shared and so, play around with it. You want it to climb and not sink, like my image above.  So much goodness in such a simple thing.(I should add, I do gluten free, so even better)

Kate

A Bit of Dialogical Debate

“Coffee all the way.”

“No! It’s like the worst ever!”

“But it’s so smooth and rich.”

“No. Coffee is like so bitter. Tea is way more smooth.”

“Only if you add milk and sugar. Plain, it’s rather sharp.”

“That’s so not true. . . Well, it could like be sorta brisk. . . but that’s why you ad the milk and sugar.”

“With coffee you don’t have to add milk or sugar. So you don’t have any calories to worry about.”

“Calories, schmalories. Who cares if it tastes like dirt?!”

“Dirt?! And what would you call tea? Leaves stewed in water!”

“Oh yes, coffee is sooooo superior.”

“Well there’s no need for you to get sarcastic.”

“Well, you don’t need to act like you are so much more superior.”

“Fine. Drink your tea, but leave me alone about the coffee.”

“I didn’t start this in the first place. You made a fuss when I said I was going to have tea!”

“So, have your tea.”

“Fine. I think I will.”

“Waiter!”

Okay, I love both tea and coffee and actually both of those are arguments I use for either…. Hopefully you can feel the different change in speech. I’m not sure. I usually use the ‘he said, she said’ moments, but I kind of wanted to try going without that.  Enjoy.

Now let me drink my tea.

Kate

Saturday Inspires – Books, Ink, Coffee… Mostly In That Order

Books. Gotta have ’em. Ink. Love it; need it. Coffee. Well, as we all know, a must.

I think all of these things inspire this blog. Maybe because they are all what get me through the day. I can’t live without books. I have been debating a Kindle for a while now, and I have the opportunity to get one for a decent price due to sales and gift cards and what not, but honestly, I’m just not ready. Most of the books; in fact all of the books I read are real books. I hold them in my hand. I don’t want to have to purchase books I want to read for my kindle, when I can spent a quarter at my local library. I’d much rather support the library than anything else.  I’m just not read.

Ink. Well, as a writer, that is crucial.  There I was in the post office today and thankfully I had a pen at hand. I yanked an envelope out of the trash bin and started making a list poem from the bulletin board.  Someone recently just clued me in to how unique our bulletin boards are in my town. We have several of them and you can get anything from a cord of wood to kittens. Just check the boards.

Coffee.  Lord knows I can’t live without my coffee. Right now I have been seriously overindulging in the cafe. I think 7 cups is more than I really should be drinking. I mixed it up tonight with a cup of Gingerbread tea. (Celestial Seasonings) It was herbal, so that was a change. But I love my coffee. If I liked the local coffee shop more, I’d spend too much time there. Since I don’t, I don’t spend time there. Ha!

Here are images that I keep to inspire me all relating to books, ink, and coffee. There might be tea in here too, because, hey, as a writer, we drink a lot of tea as well.

Enjoy.

Forever

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Oh. My. Gosh. Yes!  I swear it took a half hour for that pot to perk the other morning. It was only 12 minutes but seriously. I NEED coffee first thing. Do not talk to me until I have at least poured a cup and I’m sitting on the couch. I cannot think without coffee. And at least two cups minimum in the morning.

So, happy Sunday. I will be having plenty of coffee this morning. Possibly while I watch In The Kitchen with David (QVC and don’t mock me. He’s hilarious)

Signing off

Kate