Dear Pegasus – Your Sister

Dear baby Pegasus,

You’re two months old, as of yesterday, and you’re starting to congeal. I mean you’re no longer a large adorable lump. You’re smiling and cooing and showing preferences. You’re tracking people when they talk and even reacting to us when we look at you.

I love the look of happy relief on your face when I come get you in the morning.

In a lot of ways you’re like your sister was, smart, tall, and absolutely adorable. You also sleep really well, which is awesome. But in a lot of ways you’re quieter and more chill. I really hope that continues.

At almost three years old, your sister is dramatic, brave, loud, exuberant, clever, stubborn (oh so stubborn), and constantly questioning authority. I’m extremely proud of her even when I’m frustrated.

I was afraid that her drama and loudness might keep you up, scare you, or accidentally hurt you. So far she’s having issues understanding your personal space, but you don’t seem to care. Your biggest smiles are reserved for her. When she comes to help change you, you stop squirming and smile at her. It’s adorable how much she loves you and how much you seem to adore her.

I have no idea what either of you will be like in the future but I really hope you two are good friends. I hope the excitement and joy you feel being together stays.

Your loving Papa

The Dragon at Comicon 2018

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This was Baby Dragon’s second year at Ottawa Comicon. Her first year was mostly napping and being held by everyone who wanted with a little time on my shoulders.

This year however was filled with cool activities, playing, chasing people, and NOT NAPPING.

Her favourite activity was waving and saying hello to everyone. Other things she enjoyed:

  • Playing with the ATM and making it beep;
  • Fries;
  • Stalking Spiderman;
  • Running away into crowds;
  • Squirting Yogurt or Applesauce in her eye;
  • Climbing and sliding on Papa;
  • Saying hi to every Deadpool;
  • Giggling at Pennywise the clown;
  • Riding on Papa’s shoulders;
  • Pidge, Keith, and Lance;
  • Dancing with her aunt;
  • Grannie; and
  • Yelling Puppy at K9.

She loved hanging out with family

She did eventually nap a little, usually on the way home.

 

I love the picture of her and her grannie.

Overall it was a good year for the Baby… maybe more like Little Dragon.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Your Gramma

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Dear Dragon,

It’s the first of December and that means that Christmas is just around the corner. We’ve been listening to holiday music for the past three weeks and other than “Last Christmas” I’m still loving it.

There are all kinds of reasons I love the holidays, the snow, the presents, sappy movies/tv, spending time with family and friends, but most of all, it’s a time that most people feel more hopeful.

I hope you grow up with the kind of holidays that your Mum and I had. Our parents went out of their way to make it a loving and wonderful time.

As much as I love this time, I’m always a little sad. It reminds me of your Gramma. She loved this time of year, she’d get as excited as a child. I can still picture her with her santa mug of coffee and a mischievous grin.

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It wasn’t an easy season for her. She wanted to give me everything the other kids had but couldn’t afford it. I was still spoiled (especially by your Uncle Dan) but I remember the pain on her face when we received food boxes. It hurt her pride but she knew she needed to accept it.

No matter what happened, she made sure it was a great day filled with laughter and family.

She’s been gone for eight years now and when she died I took custody of an old box. It was packed in 1996 and says not to open until 2016. I remember packing it with some of my favourite toys, although I don’t remember the toys.

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I’m a little conflicted about the box. I want to open it, but I also want to open it with you when you’re old enough to appreciate it… to appreciate her. I’ll decide at the last minute.

She would have loved you sooooooooo much,
Your happy and sad Papa

Dear Dragon – 1 Month

1month

Dear Dragon,

You’ve been home for a month now. You have a name, a decorated room, and more clothes than you’ll ever wear.

Your routine is pretty much to sleep in the mornings, giggle/gurgle in the afternoons, fuss in the evenings, and fall asleep by 11. A routine you’ll likely return to in post-secondary.

We still occasionally forget you exist or have waves of panic that someone was foolish enough to leave us with a child. The feeling is getting less and less common.

If I had to sum up the past month, I’d say it would be fatigue and love, punctuated by small bouts of panic and helplessness. I suppose that applies to you as much as to us.

At a month, you’ve already mastered smiling, puppy dog eyes, and a heart-wrenching whimper.

I both can’t wait and dread you growing up. I’m trying to enjoy the little moments.

By the way, you’re a fantastic cuddler and I really hope that doesn’t change.

You’ve had a constant parade of people who want to meet you. Everyone loves you and wants to be near you. You’re going to grow up loved by so many people. You have your family (Me, Mum, Grannie, Grand-dad, Great-Grand-dad, Oncle Dan, Aunt Amy, Aunt Lindsay, and Modryb Sonia), your massive list of extended family and family friends, the ever-growing geeky community in Ottawa, and Ottawa’s wonderful speculative fiction family.

As loved as I hope you feel, your mother and I feel it just as much. Our families and friends are great. We’re lucky to have found so many awesome people to surround ourselves with.

This is a little disjointed, but it reflects the past month. It’s been interesting, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful. You fill me with love and wonder every time I see you or hear your little noises.

Your tired and loving Papa

Coffee is a Comfort Food

The earliest memory I have of coffee is my mother saying, “Don’t bother me until I’ve had my coffee and cigarette.” The dark brown sludge of instant coffee mixed with powdered milk was bitter, thick, and beyond disgusting.

We all have memories associated with our favourite food. I read an emotional article The Case for Bad Coffee; it’s a good and emotional read. I can’t criticize anything in it; it’s an emotional piece about the writer’s relationship with coffee. Two of my favorite things! I sometimes use a personal statement writing service for my writing but this one is all on me.  I would object to associating Starbucks with good coffee, or all diners with bad coffee. The two aren’t that far apart (source: Corporate Coffee Systems).

My Coffee Story

Something happened when I was eight: my mom got a job. She started working full time at a women’s shelter. A lot changed because of that job. We moved into a house, she became more confident, we started buying bagged milk, she bought a drip coffee machine, she quit smoking, and she started buying flavoured coffee.

That’s when I started taking notice. The smells of Amaretto, French Vanilla, Caramel, Irish Cream, and Chocolate floated in the house instead of the burnt rubber smell of her old instant coffee.

I can’t tell you when I started drinking coffee. I know it was sometime in high school but the exact date or year is lost to my terrible memory. I do know that the flavoured coffee was mostly for holidays and special occasions and she bought Timmies for everyday drinking.

The smell of flavoured coffee transports me back to our little house and Christmas in Northern Ontario, sipping Irish Cream coffee with the smell of holiday cooking and the howls of winter outside. There was a figurative, as well as a literal, warmth to discussing everything and anything at the breakfast table over a cinnamon coffee. I still have the cheesy Santa head mugs we drank from. I haven’t had the heart to unpack them since she died.

winter morning coffee

When I moved out on my own the first thing I bought was a coffee maker. It was tiny and made one large cup. I used it for ramen almost as often as I did for coffee. I used that machine until my third year university when I needed to pull all-nighters. I fondly remember making a large pot of coffee and working from 10pm to 8am on a 2000 word essay.

Caffeine fueled my university. My video editing job was Caramelo from Second Cup, my convenient store job was Vanilla Hazelnut Van Houtte’s, tour guiding was German Chocolate cake from Timothies, and late night classes were an extra-large triple-triple from Timmies.

They were never as good as the weekends when I went to visit my Mom and we had her coffee and watched a movie, chatted, or just argued.

When I graduated, I tried to get into Starbucks or exotic coffees. They were always bitter and over-roasted (I didn’t know that at the time, I just knew it wasn’t right). I tried to be “grown-up” and drink espresso or cappuccinos but my heart always yearned for the warmth of flavoured coffee.

Heart VS Stomach

My heart yearned for the warmth of flavoured coffee, but my stomach took that way too literally. Acid reflux was the result.

Most (some exceptions like Second Cup) flavoured coffees are made from low quality beans. Low quality beans are exceptionally bitter and acidic compared to other beans. The flavour masks the taste of both of these properties.

Unfortunately due to my stomach problems, I can no longer drink flavoured coffee without multiple uncomfortable issues. (I’ll spare you the details.)

Heart Wins!

I couldn’t find any place that made flavoured coffee with high, or even medium, quality beans. I was reduced to drinking unflavoured coffee.

Although my stomach was happy I missed the days of yummy flavours.

That’s when I got the crazy idea of making my own coffee. With the help of the internet, I started roasting in a hot air popper and loving the coffee.

I looked online for coffee flavouring. I found a lot of syrups (mostly made with corn syrup and tasting of red dye #5) and a few coffee flavourings that cost over $100 a bottle.

I wondered whether coffee flavouring and candy flavouring might be interchangeable. I found a random message board comment saying something like, “I don’t see why not?” and proceeded to run several days’ worth of experiments. (There’s a secret to when you need to flavour the beans.)

That’s when I decided to sell gourmet flavoured coffee.

JenEric Coffee

I now have delicious coffee I can drink and that reminds me of my mom. I think she’d have particularly liked the Mint Chocolate Chip and the Butter Rum.

Coffee is a food that is associated with a lot of social activities and a lot of interpersonal interchanges. It’s natural that a person would associate the coffee they drink with the people who are around or the events. It’s one of the things that makes coffee special and it’s one of the reasons I love it.

Enjoy what you love!

Éric

Thankful

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Today I want to tell you a few things I’m thankful for, you know in honour of yesterday being thanksgiving.

Warning the sappiness is off the chart!

Stolen from: BrotherWorld
Stolen from: BrotherWorld

Friends

I suck at keeping regular contact with people but I’m extremely thankful for the friends that understand and accept me anyway.

I’m thankful that I have awesome friends who accept me for me and don’t freak out when I say stupid or weird stuff.

Family

My close family is small, just my brother, his significant other, my father in-law, mother in-law, Sister in-law, and wife. Over the past 7 years I’ve lost both parents and that makes me even more grateful for the wonderful family I have. You’re all amazing.

I’m particularly thankful to my wife, who is both understanding and supportive in everything I do. Even when it’s random like learning to soldering or roasting coffee.

You

I’m especially thankful for you all of you, My Imaginary Friends. I’ve been blogging, in one form or another, since 2004. Sometimes it feels like no one out there is listening but every once in a while one of you will surprise me.

I got a text this weekend about a friends grandmother who was telling the family about an article she read on facebook. And it turned out to be this post. It’s not going viral or anything but to know that I made someone happy is great.

To everyone who reads, glances, or stops by occasionally… Thank you!