Monday, June 28, 2010

Making a Simple Relationship Work

* So here we are, it's our fourth week at LB Square, CAnton's new home. I could say that life for us has changed a lot...uhh, but not really, it's been modified, I guess. Having two shifts is like having two branches. For me, I can't help but visit the morning shift every once in a while. And staying all night at the cafe has become a habit for me. I have nothing to do at home anyway. 

* The pressure for me is to keep things fresh. As I've always said in this blog, complacency is a sin. I get nervous when I feel relaxed. An empty "To Do List" is not a life well spent. Something always needs to be done. There are many holes and cracks to be filled. 

* I have lots of free time, honestly. I'm a bench player. I play when someone's tired or injured. But at the same time I'm the coach. So I think that makes me a playing coach...yeah. I don't want to leave my team on the court or on the field. I always want to be on the sidelines watching. But I guess these guys need to learn how to play on their own. Retz and Neil, they're our managers together with the occasional Ate Marisse of ours. They've worked long enough at the cafe to handle a day or even a week's worth of operations. But of course, I still need to be there. I have a vision for the cafe that's hasn't come true yet. It's something I can't explain without the use of hand gestures and facial expressions. 

* I'm in a creative slump right now. I'm a streaky player like Ray Allen. I set a finals record one day then I don't make a single shot the next day. These slumps are unexplainable. Is it the weather? Is it the social conditions? (haha)  I just can't figure it out! 

* I formed a band just this afternoon with my young friend, Gelo. We call ourselves Juniper Face the Corner. We're an indie synth pop duo. Retz will be our occasional drummer. The formation of the band is somehow a venting out of creative frustrations that I just couldn't  fulfill. Playing an instrument with another musician just feels so good. It's a drugged state. It's floating in a wall of sound, a sea of notes. 

* Where am I getting to? Maybe I just want to reconcile two of the most important things in the world for me: coffee and music. It's not a weird combination, it's the norm. They're like husband and wife. And I'm getting frustrated I couldn't get them to marry. Wow, writing really makes me see things. It's just like thinking aloud. I really have no idea what to blog tonight. 

* Coffee and music. It's a simple relationship that I just can't figure out. At least for now. When I say music, it's not just the stuff we play at the cafe, it's a culture. By the way, props to those who appreciate the playlists I painstakingly put together during weekends. The mixes are a day long, so you really have to stay all day to hear them all. There, I have a title for the blog. Thank you Reflection for the idea.

* I think that's it. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pets are Angels

* Last week, I received news from my sister, Joyce, that her old dog, Leia, was dying. I came to their house immediately and saw the poor dog lying motionless inside her travel bag. I sat beside her, petted her head and gazed at her blind eyes. Yes, she's a blind old dog that my sister met when she was still working in a clinic in Singapore. Leia kept my sister special company when they were still in the land of the Merlion. My sister considered Leia as her own baby.  

* Leia is special to me too because she kept me company when I was training to become a barista in Singapore way back in 2007. I would always tell my sister to bring Leia home with her when she decides to come back to the Philippines permanently. She eventually did and now Leia is a Filipino citizen residing in Marymount Subdivision. As I looked at her in her sad state, memories of previous pets came back. I recounted the number of times my heart was broken when different pets I grew up with died or was taken away. As of now, Leia is slowly getting better. It is solely by God's grace that this 12 year old dog is still alive. Maybe she has one last task to do in this Earth.

* Today, a special pet passed away. He's not my pet, he's Ate Marisse's cat, Mac. You may have seen him several times at the cafe sleeping on the floor or just playing with the customers and crew. He reminds me of Garfield and my Siamese cat, Sam (she passed away a long time ago). They all share the lazy, fat cat persona, which I truly adore in a cat. Ate Marisse loves Mac very much, she always keeps her nails and her ears clean. And he would always smell good when he comes to visit the cafe. It's sad that Mac (he's our cafe mascot, by the way), didn't have the chance to visit the new site. I remember Ate Marisse always telling me that she would bring Mac one of these days.

* Pets are here for a purpose. They love their masters and we love them back. We learn a lot from each other and a special bond is forged that the relationship between pet and owner becomes equal to that of a friend or a family member. When I looked at Leia's eyes, it led me to believe that pets could be angels sent by God to take care of us. I would imagine that I would see my pets in heaven in a different form and talk to them and thank them for what they have done for me. Of course, this has no Biblical basis. But every pet owner hopes and prays that this is true. Mac brought the best out of Ate Marisse and the same goes to all the people he met in his long life. He taught us to care and love and in return we get a warm feeling or a sense of comfort and goodness in his presence. 

* Mac, may you rest in peace, I know you're up there and we hope to see you again someday. I'm really hoping to.

* RIP to Fluffy, Bingo, Sam, Sweetie, Friskie, Woogie, Oreo, Hi-ro, Cream-O, Leonardo and Michaelangelo. I love you all guys. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adjustment Period

* Most of us are sick today. I think that's just adrenaline from last week wearing off or just stress taking over. Last week was just crazy, the grand opening, ribbon cutting and dedication, Open Mic Nite, showtime Friday...whew! Thanks to our photographers and Facebook, pictures of the events have been uploaded already to keep you guys updated. Well, I think it will take a few more weeks for our bodies to adjust to the early opening and the late closing. 

* With a runny nose, I type this entry, I'm not really feeling "creative" right now nor "reflective". My laptop's broken, my phone's broken, my break light's broken. The challenge is to take the punches as they come. Somehow I've longed for this moment to come. It's inevitable. When good things start an 8-0 scoring run against the bad things, the bad things will rally for a comeback. But of course, the good things can always win with a game-winning three. 

* Thanks to all the people who came last week to support our first week at LB Square. We had a great time. We hope to buy a new air-conditioner to serve you better. Peace out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Place, New Food, New Drinks, New Baristas

* And definitely a new life for us all. Starting tomorrow (June 7), we will be open from 11 in the morning until 1 in the A.M. to better accommodate all our customers, both old and new. Neil Rebua, Mon Bayani, and Margret Bonita will be our morning crew while Retz Causapin, Joyceann Damian, Ramhil Malabanan, and Jeg de los Reyes will be making your evening cup of joe. As for me, I'll be there the rest of the day, keeping things in check.

* Last week's dry-runs and soft opening ran very smoothly. As expected, familiar faces greeted us at the new site; our loyal customers definitely missed us a whole lot over the summer break and we missed them too. Our friend TJ and his DevCom friends even made a documentary about our first day at LB Square. Thanks!

* Right now, we're still quite overwhelmed with the fact that God has blessed us with a cafe this big--the kitchen, the bar, the al fresco--everything was just amazing! The Japanese eatery, Eat Sumo, is also a convenience for us. They've saved us from eating ihaw and silogs for the rest of our lives, if you know what I mean.

* We love the old place and we certainly miss it. We took care of that little shop and we gave everything that we have to keep it running. We didn't belittle the old cafe. We maximized it to it's fullest potential. We didn't factor in our floor space to stop us from holding activities and events. We took care of it like it was the best thing that we could ever have. And I think there's a lesson here.

* It's not bad to dream impossible dreams. Whatever's given to you at the moment (whether it's talent, money, a bike, a pair of skinny jeans, time, a job, whatever) you should use it, cherish it, and love it like it's the best thing that you'll ever have to help you achieve your dreams. And when God sees how faithful you are in these little things He would certainly give you so much more. And I would like to give the cafe as an example. Most of you guys have experienced and read about our journey for the past two years. God has certainly been good to us. Thanks for the prayers and support.

* We have 3 new sandwiches created by Edu Foronda and Marisse Bonita. The Veggie Panini, Ham and Bacon Panini, and Lemon Chicken Panini. It's very very good. Just ask the people who tasted it last Thursday.

* We have 2 new Frothiccinos, Double Dutch and Choco Hazelnut. What's new also is that our Frajellis are now topped with either whipped cream or ice cream and they are available in all our Frothiccino flavors. We recommend you try the Black Forest Frajelli. 

* We also expanded our Affogato line. Affogato is ice cream drowned in espresso. It's available in all our Frothiccino flavors. Try the Rocky Road Affogato!

* We'll be gradually adding new items to our menu, so just wait for it as we try to utilize the full potential of our kitchen.

* Once again, the CAnton crew would like to thank everybody for making all of this a reality. May we always give our 100% in serving our community. God bless everyone!

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