Writing in Sebastopol: The Holy Cow

I am not a morning person. My parents could tell you about what a nightmare it was trying to wake me up in time for school. College was great, because I was pretty much guaranteed that I wouldn’t have to wake up before nine am, so it’s been awhile since I’ve had strict schedule.

Two weeks ago, all of that changed. I got a job driving this kid from Petaluma to Sebastopol for school, which means I have to wake up at 6:30am. This is not a thing that I enjoy.

However, once I’m up and driving, I’m looking forward to the morning hours that I would usually miss.WP_20140523_003

I’ve been frequenting this coffee shop for the past two weeks, and it’s become one of my favorite (and most productive!) places to work. The first barista to greet me has a smile even bigger than the frames of his glasses, and his friendliness extends to everyone who walks through the door, long before you even make it to the counter.

They let me smell my tea options before I commit to a potful, and don’t seem the slightest bit miffed or resentful when I stay for three to four hours, getting refills and not buying anything else.

When I buy tea at a coffee shop, I’m not paying three dollars just for tea. That would be ridiculous. Tea is much cheaper elsewhere. I’m buying unlimited hot water, a place to sit, and access to both wi-fi and a bathroom.

WP_20140528_005Located on S. Main St. in the heart of Sebastopol, the shop gets plenty of foot traffic. There’s seats by the window, and although there’s a regular stream of customers, it never gets crowded or loud. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s placed in the sleepy town of Sebastopol, but the vibe is always laid back. The baristas never seem stressed, and in between the rush, they take time to chat with the regulars. The small-town-ness also means friendly people, who offer smiles and actually make eye contact with their fellow patrons. Toddlers explore fearlessly as parents chat nearby. Mothers bounce babies on one hip.

I don’t have to wear my earplugs here; the ambient noise stays low enough so as to not be distracting, but loud enough that I don’t feel awkward sneezing too loudly.

I finally treated myself to one of their grilled cheese sandwiches, and it’s a good thing I waited this long, or I’d be ordering one every day. The cheese itself is a tasty melted delight, and the sourdough bread lives up to its name, soft and dense with a strong flavor. My side salad is as big as my main course, which is just the way I like it.

If you’re ever in Sebastopol, I highly recommend The Holy Cow. And try the backpacker’s cookie. It has everything delicious in it,including graham cracker bits.


Costa Mesa

They’d created an oasis in the tiny backyard of their Costa Mesa home. Bamboo and greenery softened the harsh boundaries of the fence, and lush plants separated the space, creating a hidden space for a few chairs and a table. A string of lights crisscrossed above us, the baubles lighting up the greenery.

Everybody was warm inside from drinking sake. They were into Japanese culture, so we sipped the warm sweet wine out of a small wooden box, and despite my best efforts, I spilled every single time.

She built a fairy house at the base of one of the plants, a little teepee made of large dry leaves and a few sticks. James found a thin stick with tiny bunches of balls, and handed it to Dave. “Ohhhhh, that’s perfect.”


As the sky darkens, the magic only increases. Organic silhouettes embrace us in peace and serenity. I wrap the warm brown blankets around my shoulders, and Elana perches on Dave’s lap. James brings out a hot kettle and five mugs; we didn’t realize we wanted tea until the exact moment he showed up.

Later, Dave drops his mug, and it breaks on the patio stone beneath him. “Aaaaand my foot is burning.”

But nobody panics at the sound of shattering, there is no stress here. Objects break, it’s the way of life. Here, Dave, we’ll pour you another. The kettle’s still hot.

Tea Troubles

Back home, after a whirlwind week of travel that took me to Santa Barbara, Irvine, Riverside, Dana Point, Costa Mesa, and Anaheim. I was without my journal for most of the trip (panic attack!) and now that we’ve been reunited, I can hardly write fast enough.

I’m journalling sporadically, trying to keep up with all the observations and experiences that simply MUST be recorded, and I keep forgetting to drink my tea! Every time I pick up my mug, it’s already gone cold. I take a few gulps, make room for more hot water, and pad quietly to the kitchen for a refill. Half an hour later, I find myself yet again with a mugful of lukewarm tea, and tea’s just not satisfying when it’s not steaming. #writerproblems

But there’s a warm cornbag at my feet, and my journal is back in my hands, so this cat is happy. 

P.S. Who knew that “mugful” is a real word