Wednesday, August 22, 2012

There It Is Again...

There it is again, that quality of evening light that seems to sharpen the details while bathing everything in a cool, cleansing mist.

Makes me pensive, grateful to have made it through the day, yet hopeful for tomorrow.

Be well, everyone!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today's Eye-Opener at Grouchy John's Coffee Shop - The Iced Caramel Macchiato with Foam

An Iced Caramel Macchiato with Foam


Today's eye-opener is pure sugary goodness!

An iced caramel macchiato topped with a thin layer of foam to hold up a generous cross-hatching of caramel drizzle, this drink is guaranteed to get your blood-sugar & caffeine levels pumped up for stomping out those Monday morning brushfires!

Come get one. The Grouchy John's Coffee Shop drive-thru opens at 5am every weekday.

Stay caffeinated, friends!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What Happened At Grouchy John's Community Drive Event Last Night

Whew! We're still recovering from last night's Community Drive Event here at Grouchy John's Coffee Shop, but we wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make it a real success.

First, a summation: While the raffle tickets are still being tallied, it's clear we raised several hundred dollars & numerous crates of supplies for the Clark County School District's School/Community Partnership Program. Also, we overflowed the Threesquare barrels with groceries & non-perishable goods. And the United Blood Services Bloodmobile was swamped with donors, even having to stay an hour-and-a-half late to try to take everyone's precious gift of life!

Second, a thanks: Our participating vendors really stepped up, from Great Bao's wonderful pork tacos to Tuff Cookie Bakeshops delectable cookies
 to Nosh Bar's wholesome & nutritious samples to 702 Salon's funky face-paints & hair-stencils, we could not have asked for better partners for our Community Drive. Oh, and special thanks to Mr. Miyagi for providing the music!

And we can't forget all of our generous friends & customers who contributed both donations & prizes, including Metro Pizza, Bread & Butter, Crepe Shack, Nevada Repertory Dance Theater, Tommy Rocker's, Black Mountain Grill, Madame Tussaud's office staff,, artist Tommy Vinci, DC Auto Tinting, and Colorado River Coffee Roasters.

Finally, to all of you who showed up, our heartfelt thanks & appreciation. We apologize that our air-conditioning couldn't keep up with the crowd, but you were all so generous & supportive that it turned our humble coffee-shop into a community home.

Thanks again, and we look forward to doing it again next year!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Mantra (a work in progress)

I've tried religion. I've tried philosophy. I've tried politics.

All have failed me. Each is rife with imperfect systems that inevitably organize people into rivals.

But I need something. I need organizing principles. Without them, I'm a tangled mass of arbitrary impulses.

And so, I've come to making my own mantra.

It has changed over the years. I'm constantly tinkering with it.

It gets longer, and then I cut it down. I read it to myself every morning and at random times throughout the day. It really does help.

So, without further ado, here's the current version: 
  • Be grateful for this day. You do not deserve it. But you're here. Enjoy it.
  • Whatever happens today, greet it with gratitude and wonder. This day shall never come again.
  • Whatever you did yesterday is done. Hopefully, it prepared you for today. But, even if it didn't, you're here. Do your best.
  • You don't have to have a reason for what you do. But it helps. The better the reason, the more it helps.
  • Love is all that matters. Express it. Accept it. Love is what makes life worth the struggle. Love much. Love well.
  • Beware of selfishness. It will lead you to the wrong choices. Your appetites can drive people away. Selflessness is the proper expression of love. Helping others is the best way to help yourself.
  • People matter more than experiences, which matter more than things. Let this be the way you prioritize your choices and actions.
  • And have some fun.
Let me know what you think of it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Birthday Wrapup

Me, blowing out my birthday candles...
(Note: I want to thank everyone who observed my birthday. The generosity & grace shown to me was both inspirational & humbling. I really don't deserve such attention, but, believe me, I'm happy to get it!)

Nowadays, I don't really celebrate my birthday, so much as survive it.

See, every year, on the anniversary of my birth, I use the occasion to reflect. I try to remember where & who I was the year before, in order to kind of gauge my progress. Some years have been good. Others, not so much. (Curious thing: the good years always come from the generosity of others, but the bad years are always entirely my fault.)

In more bureaucratic terms, my birthday becomes a kind of annual personal performance review.

So how do I rate this past year? Well, on a traditional academic grading scale, I think I'd give myself a nice, solid B. Maybe even a B+.

A year ago, things were frantic. The business that my partner and I started (Grouchy John's Coffee) was eating up every available hour of the day, as well as every potential erg of energy I had, and the financial returns were slim at best. In other words, the business was slowly growing, but we were killing ourselves in the process.

Also, I was planning & preparing my November wedding to the long-suffering Princess.

And, finally, my health was not so good, mainly from all the stress, as well as the fact that I was being lazy about taking care of myself. My weight was approaching an all-time high, and my strength and stamina were at personal worsts. And my normally-occasional insomnia? It was spiraling out of control.

Still, I was motoring along. I was even doing a little writing.

Man, was I ever feeling my age!

Then I got married, and I started to turn things around.

Not only did Grouchy John's Coffee Shop successfully open, but I began to really focus on my own personal development. It sounds self-centered to constantly blather about self-improvement, but, the truth is, I wasn't just doing do it all for myself. I was also doing it to become a better partner, friend, and husband to the people I care about.

After all, if the people who love you don't deserve you at your best, then who does?

So, I began to watch what I ate, and I started to run. And I became even more militant than ever about reading & writing daily. (The details of this process are even more boring than this blog post, so I'll spare you.)

As of the last several months, I've achieved a kind of balance between the various demands on my time & energy, and, with the help & advice of friends & family, I feel more capable & productive than ever. Besides growing Grouchy John's Coffee, I hope to put out more of my writing. Maybe this year, I'll even have time to take a vacation!

But life isn't about what you can buy or where you can go; it's about relationships, and, in these terms, this has been a banner year for me. I've made lots of new friends, and I've been able to maintain and/or rekindle some old ones. I'm especially gratified when someone I care about reaches out to me in a time of need. To be trusted is always an honor.

I could've done better. I should've done more. But, all in all, I'm happy with the way this past year played out. And I can't wait to see how things will be when my next birthday rolls around. Provided I'm still breathing when it does...