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…

#swingscoffee

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 amanda-bellido.com, 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…

#starbucks

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!

🎶Hold me closer tiny dancer…

#StElmosCoffee

I have a bonus night off *cue fireworks*. I really should be working and generating some kind of income, but I’m still exhausted from New Year’s Eve. Bartending at 29+++ is taking, has taken, it’s toll. Getting home at 4:45am on *technically January 1st is throwing off my stubborn brain and body. Recovery takes FOREVER, I’m sure I don’t have to explain this to anyone in the “29+++” category. So I’m using my now free night to get some ideas down and do some research.

As you know, I’ve been reading Steven King’s “On Writing” and have been inspired to write a few short horror/suspense stories. Since I live in a super historical city where lots of ghost stories prevail (hot seat of Revolutionary and Civil War folks!) I felt it would be silly to not use this ocean of potential for my work. As a former reference librarian for Special Collections in Alexandria, I spent a lot of down time digging through the room on whatever struck my fancy. One of the more intriguing stories is of “The Female Stranger”. Her actual name and origins are shrouded in mystery, but what is known is she was a young woman who’s husband brought her to Gadsby’s Tavern, where she passed away suddenly from an unknown illness. Her grave is a large stone table at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cemetery, supposedly placed by her husband (name and origins also a mystery).

Edit: I wrote this post over a week ago, before “The Great Cold of 2020” took over my life. My delusional brain thought I had published it, whoops!

I plan on writing a ghost/horror story based off of the Female Stranger, as it has fascinated me for years. Historical city? Check. Mysterious dying woman? Check check. Ominous message left by disconsolate husband? Triple check. 2020 is going to be the year of mystery and horror!

“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

Very excited to start reading this novel, as was loaned to me by my friend, fellow bibliophile, Ann. What I know is it’s the follow up to The Handmaid’s Tale 15 years in the future from the latter’s events. Being an avid follower of the television series (can June BE any more frustrating?!), I’m very excited to see what Atwood will bring to the characters, their dilemmas, and the survival of Gilead.

I was told this is an engrossing and quick read, so looking forward to getting book #2 for 2020 in the works!

Anyone else reading this? Thoughts or comments?