Day 9…11:26AM

At this time last week, I was still in “day off” mode since my usual off time from my job-that-pays are Mondays and Tuesdays. Now I’m struggling to fill those extra eight to ten hours in my day that are reserved for bartending. Think it’s easy? We all have those long-forgotten projects of painting, rearranging the bedroom, purging closets and such. The problem is when even that gets tedious, we don’t HAVE to be doing any of it. I have hundreds of books in my apartment, many unread. That’s a lot of sitting down for a person regularly on their feet 40+ hours a week. My home is long, but not conducive to pacing. So, what to do? List making, how I love lists. More like, a daily “to-do” calendar that turns all of this free time at home into workable, productive hours. My short-term goal of becoming a full-time freelance writer could come to fruition out of this.

I’ve been thinking of ways to prioritize things I already do with things I want to do. There’s the morning ritual of reading the terrible news of the world, coffee, and making the bed. Check. Had a little dance party, check. I completed some social media shout outs. Now I’m unhappily sitting on the couch, thinking if I should workout or let my very sore body heal from the Barre video I attempted. I say this regrettably from longingly staring out the window as I type. The cats are birdwatching and enjoying the fresh air. Visions of running away to a cabin in the mountains have been constant—a fireplace, beautiful deck with jacuzzi and excellent hiking trails. Take a deep breath (I have to tell myself this often). It will come, though I hope it is during a lovely Spring of firsthand enjoyment of birds singing and leaves budding. It’s nice to dream, to have hopes, and expectations of when life returns to “normal,” whatever that may be in the coming months.

This looks like a dreamy spot for running away. Hooray for screensavers.

I’ll leave it there for now. What are some of your “new normal” habits? Hobbies? How are you filling your days if you are a writer or other artist? Not being a parent to human children, I don’t have the responsibility of teaching and entertaining others. I assume my parent-friends are up to their ears in education and the art of distraction.

day 7, 12:30 AM

I just got emotional turning off my brunch alarm for tomorrow morning. I never thought I’d be upset by that. But here I am, crying and scared. Day 7 is setting up to be the emotional rollercoaster I don’t need.

To follow up, I’m fine; I’ll be “fine.” I have been alone and independent a lot since I turned, oh let’s say, 12 years old. Benefits of being a latchkey kid, being snarky and self-sustainable, Generation X. You could put “self” in front of just about any word, and that sums up my generation. Many articles and blogs proclaim we’re poised for this type of scenario, encouraged by an adolescence of busy parents, empty houses, and MTV. We made our own after school snacks, did our homework without (much) help, and sought it on our own if needed. Hell, I did my college applications and my college tours with friends. I was dropped off at my snowed in university and was alone within half an hour.

I don’t enjoy being alone; I’m just really good at it. Being alone when warranted, such as after a busy night or week of bartending, is a gift. It’s the most socially demanding job I know of, where you’re “on” for 8-10 hours, or more, a shift. Multiply that by 3-5 days a week, and you’re mentally toasted, you’re raw, spent. Small talk is our forte, a lot of necessary shouting, and repeating ourselves dozens upon dozens of times. There’s much more I could divulge on what drives me bananas about my job, but that’s not why I’m here.

I don’t miss the bartending; I miss the connection with people. I will never have a job this fun again. No matter how much I love writing, and books, and being a smarty pants- all that can take a hike. Fun at work seems like the antithesis of what I learned growing up, and current trends don’t seem to have changed. This pandemic could very well destroy the life I’ve known for 25 years in the course of a few months, or weeks. I am not overreacting, and it will not be the same. Nothing about our conventional way of life will be the same after this virus finally subsides, we get it under control, a vaccine, and a lot of people die. I hope I’m wrong, but drastic measures are frequently taken after catastrophes.

If it seems I’m overreacting after such a short period, here’s some perspective. I’m not on vacation, but laid off, and filed for unemployment. I’ve applied for every bartender grant I’ve seen. That is emergency, disaster relief for people who pour martinis (I’m condensing). There are “Virtual Tip Jars,” regional spreadsheets being created throughout the country for people to donate money directly to their favorite server or bartender in place of the gratuities we are no longer receiving. It’s remarkable the care and thought being poured into our community to help save Us.

But I am still scared.

I’m confident, if completely contradictory with my rambling that we will get through this. We will be stronger, if more cautious, on the other side, but emotionally battered and bruised. We will be tired, and not just us restaurant industry folks—parents co-working, co-parenting, and homeschooling. If you weren’t tired enough before, wait until we all take our first collective breather when safe again. That is when the real exhaustion begins; when we go back to our old lives and realize they are not there.

When in doubt, push through the tired…

So I started my day with a Red Bull, a sugar-free one, and I see this becoming a trend as I consider getting a case of Red Bull Zero from my boyfriend, Jeff Bezos. His quaint little company is always sending me useful and nifty gifts.

I’m surprised I chose it as my wake-up fuel today- I can blindly fix myself a cup of good coffee after I feed the hungry beasts living in my home. Lately, however, I’m feeling burnt, not “The Bern,” though I don’t want to get political, not here. My real pay-the-bills job has left me far more drained and mentally spent lately, and I’ve been relying on such stalwarts of the industry to push through everything. There’s the occasional ‘little blue friend,’ aka Adderall, and sometimes even these natural caffeine pills I found at Walgreens. I’m not ashamed whatsoever for relying on the occasional boost from everyone’s favorite college study drug. Two of my degrees were proudly “sponsored” by such. I know I am not alone.

Back to feeling drained, the burn, and my often bemused thoughts on how we’re all just too busy. I work full-time for someone else, I work part-time for myself, I go to the gym, I consciously cook healthy meals, do all the things required for maintaining my home and life. There’s friends, a relationship, family, pets- where do I rank in all this? Where do any of us rank the importance of our well-being in all this? I am talking about “me time” (you-time). Getting away for a hike, reading a book (without distraction), whatever floats your mental happiness. Why are we always putting ourselves last? How do we stop and rewire ourselves to fix this equation? I understand those who are parents will say, “kids, kids, kids.” We can’t raise kids the way we were raised (feral, latch-key, riding ATVs, playing with sharp and firey things). I certainly couldn’t do it; you’re the real MVPs friends! You, however, are the most in need of the aforementioned “you-time.”

So how does one do it? It starts with an oft negative word we were taught not to say instead of being “yes people.” To avoid not looking like a team player, to come across as positive and perky and willing to do it all. I’m talking about the word no. That’s it- no. Say it out loud, sounds harsh, abrupt, scornful even. It’s going to be the best thing you did for yourself. I’m incredibly guilty of saying yes too often at work and suddenly finding myself with zero time to write, to relax, to play with my pets, have lunch with friends, etc. Sometimes working extra is inevitable and necessary; I accept when it is. You have to give that time back to yourself, however, to heal, to regroup, to plan.

So how do you all do it? What are the interests you use to wind down, or up, those hobbies gathering dust? Mine is drawing, and recently I purchased a tabletop easel/drafting table for my larger sketchbooks, a few new pencils, and some months earlier, new sketchbooks. They need love, as I am guilty of having the initial drive to use them, but push aside. My old hobby intimidates me, to be honest. In another life, I was an art major, did graphic design, and drew quite well. The years of restaurant work have damaged the nerves in my dominant hand, and I’m afraid to see how it’s affected my ability to capture detail. Get over the fear, over the hurdles, put it in your calendar! “March 7, 2020- ME TIME”

Let me know how it goes.

Going back to the basics…


I left the laptop at home today, I can’t even imagine trying to get any real work done. Remember, I’m a bartender, and last night/this morning was a long one. There were fun parts of the night, like seeing friends make out and throwing wine corks at them. Talking after hours with two great friends/co-workers to unwind. Setting up a Last Day At Work soiree with cookies and silly party favors for a wonderful guy who’s going on to do better things. Hope he enjoyed his super soft party. #Letterkenny

And then there was the rest. Nothing horrible mind you, but too many people are on edge. Or cocaine. Or both. Now, I often can barely comprehend relaxation and normalcy after bartending, but I leave work after midnight every day. I’m not normal. If I could impart any wisdom, or a heartfelt suggestion to those sitting at our bar after a day of dealing with whatever service you provide during the day is this. Take a beat, breath, count to ten. You are still in public and talking to other people doing their job. Don’t bark at me, snap your fingers, or forget everyday pleasantries. I can usually tell if someone hasn’t snapped out of it yet, and I often give you a pass. I can see the lack of caffeine, the “hangry”, the deplorable gloom that was a day of pointless meetings. We are here for you to take the edge off, we want you happy, we want to hear about your day. So, deep breath, count to ten, take a beat, welcome back to the world.

Back to me. I’m halfway through my cappuccino, and about to write the stuff you don’t get to see. My other thoughts, the place I dump what’s in my head and not carry it around all day. It’s a “fancy” notebook, a #Moleskine, and my favorite carry everywhere notebook. It folds flat, is sturdy, and is no nonsense. A class on creativity development for artists emphasizes the importance of writing down several pages (she suggested three, I often cannot produce that much) to start one’s day. It could be anything and everything and is meant to log what’s been in your unconscious all night as you tossed and turned. It’s not just for artists. Mathematicians, engineers, businessmen, chefs, etc, have found this useful as means to unclutter the mental noise in our days. Once you build the habit, ideas creep in, and solutions to problems. It’s a free write, and one of the best things you can do for yourself all day. It’s your time to give back to yourself.

And this is mine. Happy Friday everyone. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Get at it.

I’m no quitter, but…

#CherryCasaraCappuccino #swingscoffee #alexandriava #hollywhitaker #quitlikeawoman

I’ll be posting to here, and my other blog on, about what I’m currently reading. I’ll post a full review once a week once I’m done with each book. This should kick me in the pants to get this reading done, right? If you see me, don’t be afraid to ask what I’m reading.

Why would I consider a book about quitting the sauce when I write a blog called “drinkersblock”? It’s not all about alcohol, though I was drinking wine when I came up with the name, and have been a bartender for 17 years. Seems to suit, no? I have given enormous consideration to putting aside alcohol permanently in my life for a long time. I am done with the binge drinking aspect, and yes I’ll fully admit to that being a big part of my restaurant life. Of course, I never saw it as “bingeing”, just partying hard (same).

I do love wine though…

So why the book? It called out to me, to be honest. I’m curious as to what it’ll say to me, what this author experienced, and how I could possibly apply this to my own life. I have several sober friends, and guess what? Not drinking doesn’t kill your social life. It does keep more money in my pocket, my face from being swollen in the morning, and the wasteful hangovers are gone. It’s not the worst consideration. So will I do it? Or will I learn to just be more mindful of my consumption?

Stay tuned…

The birds are spies…

#oldtownbooks #alexandriava

So on a revised mental health day, I find myself in one of the busiest, and smallest, Starbucks in my city. My car was hit a few days ago and can’t go far, so I’ve opted for a beautiful 60° February day to walk by the water, take pictures of birds, and patron a local bookstore. Yes, it’s middle of winter, it’s warm, it’s sunny, and I snagged a hightop by the window. I’ve also got a really cool idea (thanks to a friend) to write about birds used as spies since I’m surrounded by seagulls here.

In my quest to be a more educated and broad-minded writer, this book checks a few boxes. It figures in well with my desire to become a food writer, and to see and consider food in a different way. As art, as more than just sustenance. I already see food in this way, but have never written about it. Food is the center of everyone’s lives, whether we admit it or not.

Also, I love independent bookstores, they are one of my happy places. You know you’ve hit gold when the owner/cashier/employee eagerly answers questions, offers advice, and generally looks happy to be there. So go patron #OldTownBooks !

Don’t knock it, we all do it…


Nothing nefarious here, just decided against a neighborhood, locally owned coffee shop for a change. There’s abundant tables, I can hear conversations other than English being enjoyed, and I really love their sous-vide egg bites.

So are you as tired as I am of everyone shoving “Buy local!” and “Support local business!” and my favorite “Don’t give to greedy global corporations!” I patron my amazing local coffee shops like 90% of the time. I buy from local pet food stores as much as possible with picky cats. I heard a small, independent (those words are just porn for the world’s do-gooders) dry goods grocer is opening up in town soon (bring your own bags and containers!), I’m all over it.

But really, seriously. Sometimes I just want to hide, be a ghost, invisible in my own city. As a bartender at a long time local restaurant for 10+ years now has its perks and it’s downfalls. I like making people happy. I do like interesting, thoughtful conversations with interesting, thoughtful people. I’ve met the best friends an adult could ask for. People are looking out for one another in a genuine, selfless way.

Sometimes, however, I just need to be left alone. My “me” time is more precious than gold (parents understand this more than most). Interrupting someone deep in thought, bent over a book, a laptop, a phone, to me is a huge privacy violation. Oh boy, I can hear it now “Well if you don’t want to be bothered, don’t go out” or “Gee SORRY I annoyed you”. When I used to go to the YMCA, I frequently saw a friend who gave me the briefest of nods as hello. Another would wait until I was done hating on the elliptical or treadmill before stopping by for a hello and a chat. It’s all about timing folks, and we’re all dialed in to our very short days and over-worked agendas. My point? Self-awareness folks, it’s never too late to develop this appreciated and well respected trait.

Has our self-awareness deteriorated as a result of the internet, smartphones, social media? I’m living the most oxymoronic life as I dive further into my online presence as a professional, and my increased need to get away from town (everyone and everything) and drive to the countryside to horses and hiking. I am certain everyone else is in this same boat.

So where do you go, what do you do to away from it all?

Thanks for listening!