Musings on Missing a Friend

https://unsplash.com/photos/EZhGqvcWqiw

I miss my friend a lot these days. Random days where I want to ask how to make something, or what technique I need to learn.  Or when I just want to check in to see how he’s doing. Nothing much, or something much. I miss him most when I have a vivid dream where I can actually talk to him and he’s what I remember. Vivid dreams that I wake up and wish parts of it were true; so true or real; that it hurts.

Today was one of those days where I missed Coffeeman so much it was an ache inside. I wanted to cry, I wanted to fall apart on the line, I wanted to walk in back and have him ask if I was okay. I wanted the old to be there. I wanted the fist bump at the end of the night. I wanted the hug I might get if it had been a strenuous week. I wanted to see my friend.

There has been so much conflict and chaos in the last few months and I struggle with how to pull myself out of this pit of despair. Okay, it’s not that dramatic, but I am writing this at after 2 in the morning letting myself cry a little. The one in the shower wasn’t enough.

58 pizzas was busy for early January

Today was a busy day. And as I snapped a picture of the tickets stabbed on their nail, I posted it hoping Coffeeman would see, which he did, and he asked if it was so. It was a super busy day. And I had had the craziest, vivid dreams the night before where a conversation we had had before I went to bed, happened in the dream. It was so weirdly real, so gut wrenching bold in my dream that I found myself mentioning it to Ms. Godsend (aka, our front of house manager, whom I love to pieces and could not do this job without) who thought it was weirdly strange too. I won’t go into detail because it doesn’t matter.

So there I was on the line at random moments so very very happy for Coffeeman as he’s almost ready to have his new restaurant open (he’s the exec chef, doesn’t own it). I am so happy for him because I hope it works and he’s happy in his new job closer to home. But I am horribly envious that others get to work for him. Why couldn’t it have been us? I know the reason why, and I know that the two of us had our weird moments. But that doesn’t still make me not wish things had never changed.

In my time within the cooking world, I have learned that everyone has their Chef. The one chef that stood out to them. The one they talk about as theirs. Capitol letters and the pride gracing their voice when they talk about whomever it is. Coffeeman is my Chef. I will never refer to anyone else with that stigma. I may work for others, but he is the first one who has meant the world to me. As I tell anyone who will listen, for all his faults, there isn’t a thing we wouldn’t have done for the man. Oh sure, we challenged him, and even his authority, to some degree. But I would have done anything for him. He was pretty much the ‘Jump!”…. “how high, Chef.” It’s funny how you don’t realize that until they’re gone.

I go through small periods of time where I don’t muse on missing him too much. Thankfully we ‘talk’ all the time. Just little snippets of texts that help or vent or update. I don’t think I could exist without a random comment or conversation weekly. Or daily. Yeah, the man is busy. All the time. I worry that I might bother him too much here and there, but hey, he pays attention to my life, and I to his. So that means something, right?

I can count on one hand the close friends I have. I am not someone that has gobs of friends. I have that weird middle ground where there isn’t a word for acquaintance/friend. That in between stage. I know you more than just here and there, but we don’t hang out and you definitely don’t know the inner side of me. I classify these friends as family. You will get a card at Christmas, or a random one in the mail, with a letter. I write letters to those I love. I don’t just do it for the heck of it. So if something random shows up in the mail for you, be it letter, package, etc, it’s because I view you as more than that weird middle ground. You mean a hella lot to me.

And while he probably won’t read this like he used to during the Lucifer days….. I miss you like hell, Coffeeman.

Kate

Just A Day, Just An Ordinary Day… Not – Flash Fiction

“Joe, make it a double…”
Photo by Brent Gorwin on Unsplash

I’m taking a bit of flash fiction from earlier in the year and reworking it. So if you all read this one before, well I’ve changed it some.  I have this idea of the gal, G, or Gigi, or something… is a sous chef or working her way up to that, and another sous chef comes in, they meet, fall in love, bla bla bla, but  haven’t put the pieces together. I like that my world gives me inspiration. I love that the guys I work with are like brothers. Idiots, complete and total kids, I could smack all of them half the time. I write down the random conversations I’ve had with them, or points of interest because kitchen talk is not like any talk I’ve had anywhere else. I joke with the people in back that the reason we are in the back is because we couldn’t be out front. It’s funny and hard and I’m glad I can write about it. This was once based on other things but I’ve realized that I have this guy in my head for a Chef that’s like Jon Favreau from the film Chef, only thinner. Someone that’s like this giant teddy bear of a guy. I kind of want to work for him.  He seems like he would be passionate and fun. Gads, I’ve been in this world too long….*smacks forehead*

 

He wore a brimmed fisherman’s knit cap, dark and dingy hoodie, converse tennis shoes, thick frame Elvis Costello glasses, anyone could have taken him as a hipster or college student, but for the gray invading the scruffy week’s stubble and curls in the dark hair at the base of his neck. Writer, she mused. Had to be with the pen and spread paper. Or maybe one of those cool professors. She was scribbling the description down in her ever present notebook. Filled with a weird curio of curiosities from random bits of poetry, recipes, lines from a movie, song lyrics, and random ass fiction, it was a writers delight and a view of who she was as a person. Dangerous in the wrong hands.

“Or maybe he’s just doing the crossword puzzle,” Micha said over her shoulder nearly making her shriek at his stealthiness. He had slipped up behind her and glanced at her notes before his devilishly deep, rich voice crawled up her spine. 

She sighed as he came around into her line of sight and she tried to calm her racing heart that had decided to go galloping around in her chest. The damn man loved to scare her. And he was good at it.  Like a brother, he teased her mercilessly and was too good at it. Thankfully she could smack him when he was close. Unfortunately he walked by and went up to the counter to order his drink and was too far out of reach. She debated tossing her scone at him, but the blueberry delight was too delicious and she didn’t want to share.

Micha was the perfect boss. Fun to be around, a bit of a dreamer, talented, creative, pragmatic, a wild pain in the ass. Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t so great.  He was this perfect combination of soft planes and hard edges. The glasses softened his face, when he deemed to wear them. Today he was. Rimmed rectangle lenses and tapered navy blue temples. Spiked hair today. He must have been playing in gel, she noted as he slung off his leather jacket and ordered a double espresso latte.

“He’s doing the crossword,” Micha smirked as he sat down across from her with his first of many coffees of the day.

She stuck her tongue out at him. “Smartass.”

“Better than a dumbass,” they both finished together, and while he chuckled, she rolled her eyes.

“So, plans today?”

“You know. Just an ordinary day. Scrub out the walk-in and organize the freezers.”

She groaned.

“What? You knew it was coming.”

“That is not ordinary!” she wailed. “I seriously do not have enough caffeine in my system for this.” She raised her hand to signal the young guy at the counter. ‘Joe, better make me another. It’s gonna be a long day.” She flipped the page in her notebook and started making lists.

“We could just wing it,” he supplied casually.

She arched her left brow at him and tilted her head down looking over the rim of her glasses.

“You are way too chipper about this. What should I be afraid of?” her voice was filled suspicion.

“The produce order comes in at noon and the beef order at 3, and I kind of want this all done before then…”

“Oh god. And?”

“Emily and I have reservations, so I will be gone by 5…..”

“I hate you.”

“I know. Want to get started?” He grinned.

She could smack him….

So, enjoy. This was a fun bit to write and fits into a cooking novel I am plotting.

Kate

Just a Dream – Flash Fiction – Character Profiles

Intro: Gosh, I love being a writer. There I was sitting at a coffeeshop in Ashland, Bloomsbury Books, to be exact. I was finally eating something that was staying down and calming down after feeling lousy most of the day. I sat there with my cafe au lait watching the goings on and decided to do a character sketch/profile which morphed to a bit of flash fiction. Note on subject. It is modeled after aspects of my life and people in my life and even some emotions I’ve felt, but no one will know which ones are true or made up. The prerogative of a writer. We embellish. So if anyone reads this, IE boss or friends, remember. I am first and foremost a writer and dreamer.  Everything can and will be used in my writing.

 

He wore a brimmed fisherman’s knit cap, dark and dingy hoodie, converse tennis shoes, thick frame Elvis Costello glasses, anyone could have taken him as a hipster or college student, but for the gray invading the scruffy week’s stubble and curls in the dark hair at the base of his neck. Writer, she mused. Had to be with the pen and spread paper. Or maybe one of those cool professors.

“Or maybe he’s just doing the crossword puzzle,” Micha said over her shoulder nearly making her shriek at his stealthiness. He had slipped up behind her and glanced at her notes before his devilishly deep, rich voice crawled up her spine. 

She sighed as he came around into her line of sight and she tried to calm her racing heart that had decided to go galloping around in her chest. The damn man loved to scare her. And he was good at it. And it really was a shame that he was taken. As much as he killed her sanity daily, was like an older brother and all, that didn’t mean she didn’t have eyes.

Micha was edgy. She was not. Not even close. He was this perfect combination of soft planes and hard edges. The glasses softened his face, when he deemed to wear them. Today he was. Rimless rectangle lenses and tapered black temples. Spiked hair. He must have been playing in gel, she noted as he slung off his leather jacket and ordered a double espresso latte.

Hmm, diamond studs in his ears; must be going out with his wife later. Lucky girl.

She was only slightly jealous. They would have never worked as a couple, being too alike in moods, vices, interests, and even irritations. Plus, she loved Elle, his wife of 6 years. Two point five kids, a dog, house….yeah he had it all. No, she didn’t want him, she was more jealous of the dream. Oh sure, he was nice to look at, quite nice, actually, and one of her best friends. She was oh so good, she wasn’t dead. He was easy on the eyes.

“He’s doing the crossword,” Micha smirked as he sat down across from her with his first of many coffees of the day.

She stuck her tongue out at him. “Smartass.”

“Better than a dumbass,” they both finished together, and while he chuckled, she rolled her eyes.

“So, plans today?”

“Scrub out the walk-in and organize the freezers.”

She groaned.

“What? You knew it was coming.”

“I seriously do not have enough caffeine in my system for this.” She raised her hand to signal the young guy at the counter. ‘Joe, better make me another. It’s gonna be a long day.” She pulled out her notebook and started making lists.

“We could just wing it,” he supplied casually.

She arched her left brow at him and tilted her head down looking over the rim of her glasses.

“You are way too chipper about this. What should I be afraid of?” her voice was filled suspicion.

“The produce order comes in at noon and the beef order at 3, and I kind of want this all done before then…”

“Oh god. And?”

“Elle and I are going to the cabaret at 5.”

“I hate you.”

“I know. Want to get started?” He grinned.

She could smack him….

So, enjoy. This was a fun bit to write and fits into a cooking novel I am plotting.

Kate

The Wisdom of Your Elders

This last week was challenging. I felt like someone was trying to push me to the breaking point and well, literally break me. Physically, mentally……. personally. Games played, moves made. Life is a chess match. If you don’t think it is, then you’re not doing it right. Because let me tell you, everyone is playing games. Even I play games, though less than others.

A knife isn’t necessarily just a knife. There is a lot more behind that, but I won’t go into it right now.

The breaking point didn’t happen because I didn’t break. I was pissed beyond belief. I was so so angry. So angry that I didn’t even talk to my family for a good 12 hours because I knew once I started talking, like an explosion, I wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to put that on them. So I went to bed, slept for six hours and went to my writing group.

Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash

My writing group is mostly women that I would classify as extended moms to me. All older, except two, all wise. All with a collective mind that I don’t think they even talk about but wow are things synced up with them. With me.

I was given the most amazing advice, opinions, and thoughts from those lovely ladies. Their initial advice led me to write some poetry where I allowed myself to be angry. And they even mentioned that I had let the anger out in the poetry and it was so much better to do that then to express my anger through other means. I am kind of a pushover, cream-puff, watering-pot of a person, so I always find it funny to think of expressing my anger in a physical way. Which was what they meant.

The poem was titled “Hurricanes Are Named After Women For A Reason”. Isn’t that great?  Basically, it was about being pushed and me pushing back in my way.  Age does have a way of allowing for knowledge.  Which was where I was going with my title. God, sometimes my blonde, distracted moments really get to me. (I’m more blonde now after an afternoon of lightening)

This card comes from Wisdom of the Crone, a deck of 54 wisdom cards. Click on the highlighted title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where I started going was how my parents have always told me that your elders are usually smarter. Not always. Age does not always mean knowledge, but seriously, when you have a group of ‘crones’, (that is not a dig, my ladies excel in crone knowledge) and your parents saying the exact same thing about dealing, anger, being pushed, games played, certain people and their personalities, and just kind of all-around advice, it’s so so comforting. I went home after my writing group and my family listened to me vent, then gave me advice. A lot of advice. So much advice that one might think it was overload. At times it has been, but this time, I sat there kind of stupefied that I was hearing exactly what I had heard an hour prior. The collective knowledge of your elders.

I love the Farmer’s car insurance commercial line, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two….” which I’ve used in life recently when people doubt my existence. But it also applies to one’s elders. My family and friends are my elders and they definitely know a thing or two. And after the collective wisdom of them all, I was able to get through the rest of my day perfectly fine. I was even able to mad dash run into work for a few hours when I was needed. I wasn’t supposed to be working, but one line I was able to use, which is really quite true, was “This is my restaurant too.” Meaning, this isn’t a favor to you, but to my restaurant that currently means the world to me. My loyalties run so deep. I can’t even explain it. But I was in such an excellent mood that my time was a fast-paced dream.

I think the only other one thing out of all of this comes from the fact that I am terrible about responding to people in person. Which was the crux of some of my anger. It takes me until I get home and hours later to have the perfect come back. The line that comes to mind comes from You’ve Got Mail.

What happens to me when I’m provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said. What should I have said, for example, to a bottom dweller who recently belittled my existence? – Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail

That is me. And that was where all of this stemmed from. Wanting to say something. Needing to say something to a ‘bottom dweller’ who should have known better. But, well again, cream puff.

In conclusion, as I have rambled on. Listen to your elders. Listen to the crones. Listen to the wisdom of years. It really really knows what its talking about. They know what they are talking about. Experience is the best learning tool of life. My experience in life these past 7 months is unexplainable, and I will be able to carry it onwards through life. I value it much more than I ever would.

And I value my elders. Thank you. Moms, ladies, family, thank you.

Kate

PAD Day 24- Lost then Regained – Lost and Found Friends

Mrs. Austen and I  lost touch with each other for about ten years; those years from childhood to adulthood.  It was by chance my grandmother, darling that she is, found Mrs. Austen’s wedding announcement in the local paper, clipped it out, and sent it to me. I can’t imagine how my life would be had she not done that and Mrs. Austen and I reconnecting. I can’t imagine my life without my best friend, who really would like a letter, and I have one started in an email, but it’s been two weeks…. Sorry Jules! I will get it to you!

But for now, here is how we lost then found each other. And when I think of our friendship, I think of Simon and Garfunkel‘s “Bookends” and “Old Friends” songs, which happen to be my favorite songs of theirs. I also think of Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede

Lost and Found Friends

I was twelve when I lost my best friend,
Moving east, three states across;
A distance more than miles, it became years
A childhood faded to the teens;
Terrible years and no friend to commiserate with.
Meeting again at eighteen on the cusp of adulthood
Her going that way, me going another distance.
College and moves, and strange times between us.
She was married, her picture in the paper
when we truly met again, as ourselves.
Not in person, but letters and words on sheets.
Meeting like old-fashioned women and calling cards.
Our friendship regained in letters and cards
to something strong and lasting for years.
From best friend, to lost friend, to found again
We are the old friends sitting like bookends…

Wordless Wednesday – Black & Tan

Mike's Black & TanOur friend, Mike, makes his own homemade beer, and his newest one this summer was actually two beers that when layered, created this marvelous drink.  We all call it a black and tan, and as you drink, the two beers stay layered all the way to the bottom.  Rich chocolatey beer on top, light, hoppy beer on the bottom.  Marvelous on a summer’s day.

Signing off

~Kate

Postage Notes

Postage Notes

I wish I could send you tiny letters
A postage stamp would fit the whole side
Your address only parts of laughter
Words small enough to need a telescope
I’d send them to carry around in a pocket
In your billfold clamped to a twenty
Something you’d find hiding
When you did your laundry
You’d pull it out and remember the words
Words too tiny to say out loud
Thoughts so small you’d need pages more
Words I’d keep hidden deep inside
Until my postage notes shared them

-Katie Lyn Branson

I wrote this for Mrs. Austen and S, a couple weeks ago.  My first thought was for Mrs. Austen, but then I thought about how important S is to me and he needs a copy as well.  So I copied it up for him with my fountain pen and send it off. Poetry is special to me, and I like sharing it with people that are important to me, even if they don’t get the juste of the poem.  Open poetry, free form poetry, is more abstract and not always understood.  So if friends don’t get it, that’s okay.  I just want them to know that it’s my way of telling them how important they are to me.

Signing off

~Kate

© Katie Lyn Branson and Kate’s Bookshelf, 2009-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given toKatie Lyn Branson and Kate’s Bookshelf with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Things I May Have Learned This Year

These may not make anyone laugh, but here are some things I’ve learned this year.

  1. I can never have too much of Ashland, OR.  It is one of the best towns ever!
  2. Bleaching your hair with hydrogen peroxide doesn’t always  work, and come Christmastime, yellow hair looks really crappy in the family photos.  Note to self, do not play hairdresser with medicine cabinet bottles.
  3. Tea does not dye the hair back.
  4. Query letters are a pain in the you- know- what.  And they take                                    F-O-R-E-V-E-R to write.
  5. There are some pop songs I will NEVER get out of my head, even though they drive me nuts most the time. Case in point.  Lady Gaga: Bad Romance (ugh on so many levels).  Katy Perry: California Gurls and possibly a few others.
  6. Always carry a notebook or paper to write on if you are a writer.  You never know when you will have an idea.  And do not lose those pieces, or you will go nuts for two weeks trying to find them!
  7. Jane Austen totally rocks!
  8. You can never have too many cups of tea  with friends.
  9. It is really hard to get back in the groove of yoga, jump rope, etc. once you have gotten sick.
  10.  Blogging on a regular basis is super hard to maintain!

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Signing off

~Kate