dear diary


i took some serious elbow grease to the condo this weekend, cleaning that thing from top to bottom and left to right.  in the midst of dusting my bedroom bookshelf, i stumbled across an old spiral journal and couldn’t help but smile.  my old diary!  one of many, i assure you.

it was a gift from my aunt tutti and cousin hannah, how many years ago i do not know.  wait, i take that back, i’m going to guess eleven years ago since the first entry is dated february 2003.  dang!  i’ve held onto this little guy for just a bit, yes?

i read the first few entries and took a deep walk down memory lane.  i literally wrote about everything in my day, from school to band practice to what my brothers were doing to what we were eating for dinner to what we watched on tv.  i cannot help but picture fourteen year old kelsey writing diligently in her diary each evening, recapping her day and reflecting on all the problems that freshmen high schoolers have.

it was fun to see my handwriting change throughout those years, from very precise to very girly to very cool and artsy.

the daily entries were interrupted every now and then by other thoughts and feelings and aspirations.  one page contained a list of “things to do before i die.”  well, i was quite ambitious then, wasn’t i?  it included the following:  roll a house (done), bungee jump, go abroad (next year – fingers crossed!), have the perfect kiss (ah, such a romantic), give blood, ride a train, and go to college.  the list goes on and on, but i’m not looking to embarrass myself too much today.

i apparently was also a quote fanatic then.  there are pages and pages of inspiration and wisdom here!  below are some of my favorites i had jotted down.

the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  frederick buechner

all our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  walt disney

always do right.  this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”  mark twain

the measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”  thomas babington macaulay

i’ve carried the journal around with me all week, and when i see it peeking out of my bag, i cannot help but smile.  it tickles me to read about my high school days and everything that came with them.  it makes me even happier knowing that i kind of get to keep a journal or diary here with you all.  as all my friend and boy and fashion problems come to mind, i’m sure you’ll get to read all about them.

my name is kelsey, and i love coffee

in high school and college, i had the fortunate experience of working in a coffee shop.  during high school it was at cambridge coffee in the lee branch shopping center of birmingham.  through my junior and senior years of college it was in the student learning center’s jittery joe’s.  i wouldn’t trade those shifts for the world, they were such a blast.  some of my best memories are when i played barista.  there’s a special camaraderie forged among you and your coworkers and the customers, and whenever i find myself at a coffee shop, i often reminisce about those days that seem so long ago and so far away.

at a coffee shop, you have several kinds of customers.  the people who like the smell of coffee but not the taste, so they order hot chocolates or mochas without espresso (hint hint, they’re the same thing); the people who only drink black coffee because they are “coffee purists;” the people who order fat-free, sugar-free lattes but absolutely want the whipped cream on top (they might be my favorite); the people who pronounce it “expresso” (there is no ‘x’ in the word!); the people who think a starbucks macchiato is a real macchiato (i promise you that it is not); the people who order large coffees five times throughout the same day (what do you DO?); the people who have been waiting in line for ten minutes but still do not know what to order when they arrive at the counter; the people who, after you announce a drink, repeat it right back as a question, as if you might be wrong; the people who order soy cappuccinos (i just, i can’t).

yes!  it’s true!  these people actually exist.  and in all honesty, the only reason i get a kick out of some folks is because i have the knowledge and expertise of what it is like to work behind that machine and counter, cranking out lattes and frozen, blended drinks for hours on end.  i hold nothing against coffee drinkers who don’t know what i know; i just like to smile to myself when they come by the counter.

regardless of what customers are ordering or who they might be, working in a coffee shop is an absolute pleasure, and if i could make a decent five-figure salary as a full-time barista, i’d be signing up tomorrow.  there is something special about seeing your regulars and calling them by name, catching up on their whereabouts and recent life events.  you have this strange, exclusive connection with the customers that they might not even share with the people closest to them.  believe me, if you will listen, people will talk.  but, considering that i am quite the people person, i have no qualms about it whatsoever.

someday i hope to start my own coffee shop or bakery or combination of the two.  i love coffee but would not call myself an expert; i’ll let someone else in the business handle that.  i want to be head baker at this establishment, deciding that morning just exactly what we are in the mood to make that day.  i want to be up in front with the patrons, sharing a friendly smile as they start their day or wind down their evening.  it’ll be an eclectic place, local art on the walls, a community bookshelf for the readers, funky tables and chairs that, although they do not sit quite level, are incredibly comfortable.

the staff will be warm and friendly, happy to have you in our shop and not irritated that you just had to stop by before that 10:00 a.m. meeting.  you’ll be able to bring your friends for a catch-up date but also spend alone time here as you read or write or people-watch.

is this a place you would come?  does it sound nice and inviting?  i hope so, because i keep my fingers crossed each time i stop for a cup that i’ll get to create that kind of space for my family and friends.