Monthly Archives: April 2012

Coffee Shop Capers

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The sun is out when it wasn’t supposed to be. Looking at the lake with a warm cup of coffee in my hand, I find myself enjoying this coffee shop on a busy Saturday afternoon. I am in place of solitude, despite the noise and the presence of others in the coffee shop. I am so grateful for the solitude.

There are many stories revealing themselves here. Two girlfriends who haven’t seen each other in a month scream and hug as they connect. Parents, a young man and his fiancé stop in for a cup before they meet with the caterer to plan the wedding menu. The excitement they feel is palatable. An aunt and a mom provide support to a young college student who shares that she still has not found her place, and does not think she fits in where she is at.

Folks rush in to grab a quick cup of Joe, as you would expect. “I’ll have a latte to go!” is heard often. The latte lover grabs their order and dashes off towards the rest of their day. A coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon has a very different vibe than during the week, and I am completely enjoying this perch I am on. Instead of seeing people in professional clothing, heading to work, you notice the runners and bikers, suited up and sweaty. Folks linger over coffee and a scone, laughing,. Hands are held, tears are wiped, and folks seem refueled.

As I sit people watching and yes listening, it comes to mind that I am on the playground again. A Saturday at the coffee shop is a day on the grown up playground. People are slowing down, making time for each other or just for themselves. It is the place for human connection, whether with others or yourself.

This is a kind of grown up play the type of play that children often cannot understand. At the heart of play is pleasure, and being in this place alive with people and yet at the same time full of personal solitude is bringing me true enjoyment. This is a space where I can play with ideas. Playing with ideas, dusting off my imagination, gives me the chance to create play worlds that belong just to me. This time provides a peek into the window of my life, just as I have seen a small bit of others lives while people watching in the coffee shop.

In playing alone, I can step back from the external, electronic, structured adult world of requirements and stimulation; instead I can think, dream, hope, and imagine. I can reflect on barriers in my life and what I might want to do with them. Mainly, though, I get to know myself better than I had before. After all, I profess to be a lifelong learner. Isn’t it appropriate that I learn about me? Stay connected with me? Cherish me?

If not me, then who?

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The Giddy Kale Gal

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ImageI’m finding out that there are some things on this play journey that make me giddy.  I am enjoying my new found love of cooking new things.  Lately, I am all about baked kale.  For those who know me well, this is a shocker of earthquake magnitude as I am not a fan of green veggies.  Eating a salad is fine, but those green tree things that we tell our kids the healthy dinosaurs ate – well, to quote a Valley Girl, “Gag me!”. 

Saturday I headed out to the local organic market to buy some kale to bake.  Ate it all within an hour of making it.  Just as in my granola escapades, I shared very little.  Yesterday I headed to the organic section of a local market to by more kale to bake.  Told you, I am giddy about kale.  And don’t get me started on my new found interest in quinoa.  Oh my that rocks the in the food world too! 

Today, I thought I’d start a cyber conversation with y’all to find out what your giddy about.  I’d love to know.  It might inspire me to try something new, enjoyable and playful. 

So, reader pal,friend and buddy (there are only three of you, right?)  – would you indulge me with your input? Just a few moments of your time to answer these inquires: 

 

What makes you giddy like a kid?

What are you passionate about?

What were you most looking forward to when you woke up this morning?

In my next entry I’ll share your responses – and mine. 

Maybe we will find a new game on the playground! 

 

 

What are your answers to these questions: What makes you giddy like a kid? What are you passionate about? What were you most looking forward to when you woke up this a.m.? Here are mine.

I’s play too! Just not like you!

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The last two weeks have been very busy ones for me.  This translates to limited time to play.  I like to do things well, and therefore this limited play is making for a crabby writer in me trying to get out.

I had lunch with a friend this week that was kind enough to share her time and talents in my classroom.  She brought a colleague of hers to the class, and afterwards we headed out to lunch.

When I have lunch with this friend, I often try to allow extra time in my schedule so that it feels free and less structured than an average “let’s discuss business” lunch.  We connect on many levels, especially on an intellectual play level.

I thoroughly enjoy intellectual play – banttering around ideas and possibilities.  For me, it includes things like reading, thinking big thoughts, solving the world’s problems, defining and redefining priorities– that sort of thing.  The ideas we share and the problems we solve over those lunches energize me. (You reading over your friend’s shoulder, stop rolling your eyes, I am neither a snob nor a bore!)

We also talked college basketball – what a week for that!.  Personal stories were swapped and so were many laughs.  It was the kind of lunch that lingers, and when it comes to an end you’re sorry. My personal schedule nudged me to move on.  After all, the school where Youngest Son attends frowns on leaving your child there after a certain time while you lunch with friends.

As I drove home, I felt rushed and behind.  I kept thinking, “I made a commitment to the blog and I have to get this done.  I wanted to get this done this afternoon before the end of the school day for Youngest Son.”

Anyone out there find this thought a bit odd?  We are supposed to play here on the playground, right?  And it seems to me, reading the words typed above, that I had done just that.

Let’s rewind here.  I did not make a commitment to the blog.  I made a commitment to myself.  What was it that was impacting my ability to see this?

My “ah-ha” moment came when I returned to my home office and took a moment to look up my Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator. It’s a personality test used in many places; I have often seen it used to build teams in a work place setting. We had chatted a bit about this over lunch and I remembered mine being INFJ.   (If you’re curious about this at all, I am sure you can find a self test on the internet)

I was curious to see how my INFJ self might play, at least according to Myers Briggs.  One line struck me as I read about my personality type:

“INFJs have a tendency to want to complete their work before relaxing. As a result,their personal needs may be neglected as they pursue their passions.”

Many times I feel guilty about my passion for my work, and the causes I support. These take time to follow through on – and that sense of purpose, and passion often look like play to me.  I often join causes where I think I can make positive change – whether it’s raising money to find a cure for a disease, working one on one with a student on their writing skills, or creating a blog for others who struggle to play.  I love doing these things and comment regarding how lucky I am to have a career I love so. I am well aware that this is definitely not the case for everyone.

This is something that can make it difficult for me to play.  Somehow I have it in my head that the work that I love is play too because I love it so much. But it is not. It is work, it needs fuel, and I need refueling.

So I am signing off right now, it’s time to play. Maybe I’ll see you in the garden? I’m going to plant some herbs. Wait until I share what I have learned about kale!   Good stuff! While I’m out there, I’ll be thinking about my next play adventure.

How about you? Playing much these days?