Friday, July 10, 2009

What fills your bag?

Michael and I were just having coffee out at the picnic table and he remarked how delicious Aaron's new sandwich is. We lose him occasionally when Karmella's Game hits the road, but this time he came back with a great new special - The Rowhouse - sun-dried-tomato-basil-cream cheese with cucumbers, sprouts, lettuce, red onions, and Swiss cheese on a toasted ciabatta sub roll. We also have Gazpacho and Summer Borscht with lemon crème fraîche (vegetarian)

For years I've struggled with titles; artist is fraught with implications, crafts have historically been taken less seriously, chef is a title that should be earned (in my opinion). It finally came to me that I am a Maker - a Jane-of-all-trades, and that's a title as comfortable as old Birkenstocks. Running the cafe constantly taps that creative energy, and infact, that Maker sensability is largely responsible for the cafe. Michael and I took on building the place equiped with little more than the niave optimism that we could. I designed the pastry case and magazine/book rack, we built them together and Michael did the finishing. I made the tabletops and designed our signage. I painted the first set of coffee cups and layed the glass tile backspash on the espresso bar. Together with a couple of friends we framed out the kitchen and hung drywall and Michael did the mud work. Ann gave at least one day every weekend for months to paint or clean as needed.

My father used to admonish that people are like paper bags - that only so much can be removed before the bag is empty. The trick is to find out what "fills your bag". A week away in April completely charged me for the following three months. Everyday interations with customers/friends is a constant source of fuel; and little sabbaticals always bring a wave of creativity and renewal. I'm going to take preemptive measures and schedule another one.