So, whatcha been doing?

Brent McAthey, aka The Brenster – from Brenster’s Beach Bash on Tuesdays at Diego’s, Canadian award-winning singer, songwriter and entertainer. [as told to Sheila Madsen on June 1, 2020]

1] So, what have you been doing?

I am writing songs; one I am particularly proud of is It ain’t always Paradise in Paradise . I’ve sent the song to 800 radio stations and it’s playing in 26 countries – Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc. I’ve also been busy making a video for it, and doing radio interviews that help me stay connected to my friends in the music business. My scales tell me that I am eating well! I do most of the cooking and recently I’ve been reaching for many of mother’s recipes such as stuffed green peppers and I also love my way of stuffing jalapeno peppers and popping them on the bbq. My girlfriend, Angela, pulls me away from the daily news noise and we enjoy watching Billions and Bloodline. We put on our masks and go for walks and we often walk in the park across the street from my house.

2] What do you miss the most?

I usually return to Alberta, Canada in June, so I miss my friends and family the most. Both my parents are in assisted living facilities, they are well and safe thank God, so I couldn’t even see them if I could fly to Alberta.

3] How are you staying connected to friends and family?

Telephone, that’s what I prefer. I’m not a big Zoom guy, so I’m happy calling people.

4] If you had had ample warning about Covid-19 where would you choose to be, with whom and who would you like for your neighbours?

I’d choose to be in Mazatlan, with Angela and my neighbours would be Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney.

5] What are you looking forward to doing the most once you are able to go outside and it’s “safe”?

That’s easy, running up and down on the beach and hugging all my friends.

6] What is your go-to outfit?

 You see, that’s exactly the reason I don’t like Zoom and prefer the telephone – I wear shorts – no shoes, no shirt.

7] During this stay at home time, any big aha moments?

I feel like most people – the minute you lose something, like the beach, like meeting your friends, you realize how important all those things were that you took for granted. While I’ve missed performing there are other ways I can contribute to the music business and it’s made me think of different ways to share my music. I’m very excited about some future ideas I have…

Deborah Rodriquez, owner of Tippy Toes Salon and best-selling author of six books: Kabul Beauty School, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, The Zanzibar Wife, Island on the Edge of the World, Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul and Margarita Wednesdays. [as told to Sheila Madsen on June 2, 2020.] Update! Tippy Toes officially re-opened on June 18, 2020 with ALL the Covid-19 protocols in place.

1] So, what have you been doing?

I am in my house in Mazatlan with my partner Dénis but oh, my gosh, I have been so busy. I am editing and fact-checking my latest book which is set in Morocco and that involves many conversations and Zoom meetings. Speaking of Zoom, I’m also coaching husbands/partners on how to colour their wife’s roots – that’s been really fun – online, of course. Plus, I am doing some online hypnosis with clients. For fun, I’m making a bigger quilt for our bed because one of us is a “quilt stealer.” I’m busy sewing special masks for my customers and staff when Tippy Toes reopens. [The reopening of Tippy Toes is a massive undertaking and I’ve had to do extensive research into all the Covid-19 protocols. I have a friend in Canada who specializes in “sanitizing” and she’s helping me through all the steps. I’ve already removed half of the furniture for social distancing, put the pedi/mani chairs at 6 feet apart, recovered all the furniture in vinyl so it can be wiped down and spending money!  For instance, each hair client needs a cape – that can’t be passed from customer to customer, training manuals for the staff, special nail and toe buffers and on it goes – but when Tippy Toes is ready to open, it will be very safe. I want my customer to feel safe, that’s my main goal.]

My parents owned a bakery so I’ve always loved the smell and the feeling of it but I have never learned how to bake – by the way, I can’t cook, I am no domestic goddess. I’ve set myself a challenge; every Saturday I would try a brand new recipe – some have been a disaster, some have been ok. Last week I made a chocolate beet cake that was odd but interesting and I’ve made a decent apple crisp. One Saturday, I attempted a Pavlova and ended up being covered in whipped cream and worried ants would crawl all over me, so I had to take a shower. Dénis finally said “Deb, stop feeding this to me I’m going to weigh 400 pounds” – now I deliver my Saturday experiments to friends and I call that “my trail of sugar.” It cheers them up, perhaps it’s a birthday or anniversary or just a “hello” gift. I’ve never had time for tv or binge watching but now that I’m quilting I’ve binged watched The Tiger King and lots of baking shows. I try not to watch too much news, but with all my Zoom interviews around the world I am aware of what’s going on.

2] What do you miss the most?

Although my grandkids are in the house right next door to me, I can’t hug them or be close, I miss them the most. I also miss doing hair and the social aspect, the chats we have. I miss not being able to drop in and say “hi” to friends. 

3] How are you staying connected to friends and family?

Zoom and Skype. I Zoom my son in DC. I am often author/guest at various book clubs around the world. My book, Island on the Edge of the World was launched in the UK during Covid-19 and I’ve done a lot of interviews to help promote the book.

4] If you had had ample warning about Covid-19 where would you choose to be, with whom and who would want for your neighbours.

I would choose to be here in Mazatlan with Dénis but with my grandkids inside my house. Fantasy neighbours would be a singer/musician and a pastry chef – so I could ask him/her about any baking questions I have. 

5] What are you looking forward to the most when it’s “safe” to go outside.

I want to take a trip with my grandkids – a family trip. Huddled in the same room.

6] What is your go-to outfit?

Pajamas, I have so many. I also love my muumuus and caftans which allow me to wear my comfortable “indoor bras.” When I do a Zoom interview I do put on a proper “outdoor bra” along with a shirt, but chances are I’m wearing pajama bottoms. 

7] Any aha moments, changes you’ll make in your life?

This is the first time I’ve ever had so much down time. I realize that I need to pace myself and carve out more time to quilt and to bake – I need to find that time for things that I love to do that aren’t related to Tippy Toes.

 

Marianne Biasotti and her husband Rogelio Fontes own three Rico’s Cafes and Bar. She’s a wife, mother and active member of the Mazatlan business community; in 2019, Marianne and her team brought the Day of the Dead festivities to the Golden Zone. She also plays a large role in the annual Farm to Table event and the Saturday Organic Market at Zaragoza Plaza – and probably participates in dozens of more committees I am not aware of. [ as told to Sheila Madsen on June 2, 2020.]

 

1] So, what have you been doing?

 I am in my home in Mazatlan with my three children [two are/were in university in California] and my husband. In a way, this time at home has been a real gift. My children come home for holidays but this time there is no competition for their time; we are together as a unit playing board games, card games, riding our bikes and landscaping our backyard into a wonderful green area filled with various animals – especially parakeets! I haven’t even had to make a “chore chart”. The kids pitch in and start cooking or cleaning, and my youngest who is 13, is thrilled to have his older siblings around. We have binged watched Ozark, and I enjoy online courses with David Scott Peters [a restaurant coach and industry expert.] .We are cooking every night at home and I do buy groceries online and have them delivered.

I’ve always been spontaneous, I’m not a big routine person. I’m going to visit our restaurants to do whatever needs to be done. With three cafes and 85 employees I am out every other day,[ it’s impossible for me to practice stay at home] – talking with the team, improving the menu and organizing the protocols for Covid-19. Much of the work is done through WhatsApp, and FaceTime but I like to connect with my team and make sure they are ok and their families have enough food etc. I’m an optimistic person and I want to ensure that my employees know they have a job and are happy – even though there’s been a big pause. 

2] What do you miss the most?

 We had planned a trip to the Bay Area to visit my parents, that was cancelled, I do miss them, but we Zoom and FaceTime. I miss going to the beach, going out to dine, and just seeing friends. I am big hugger, but I think social distancing will last for a long time so the hugging will have to wait.

 3] How are you staying connected to friends and family?

 WA, FaceTime, Zoom. Social distancing visits in the neighbourhood

4] If you had had ample warning about Covid-19 where would you choose to be, with whom and who would want for your neighbours?

 Exactly where I am with my children and husband. For fantasy neighbours I’d like to have George Clooney and Amal [I think Amal and I would become good friends] on one side and on the other a chef/musical couple – one would cook, and one would sing – my Mum and Dad! If they were next door we could check on them, them on us, and enjoy my Dad’s cooking and my singer Mum. We’d have wonderful backyard parties – at a distance.

 5] What are you looking forward to the most when it’s “safe” to go outside.

 Oddly, I miss all my school connections with my son – I miss the moms, the sports’ games and all the social interactions. I miss chatting with my customers. I have tons of new ideas that I was ready to launch in March – and I miss the excitement of that execution. But that will happen in time.

 6] What is your go-to outfit?

 Mostly I wear shorts and sandals, since I’m out [wearing a mask] I do my hair and makeup. I’m not in pajamas!

 7] Any aha moments, changes you’ll make in your life?

 This has been a real pause for me, a chance to get off the merry-go-round. I really want to continue that balance and allow more time to think and be more mindful of all the people who work with us at Rico’s. I’m going to be more selective at accepting various social invitations. I’ve even started doing yoga with my daughter. Really, I am so thankful for everything.

THE END

[Not that anyone has asked, my fantasy condo neighbours would be: a chef, a singer/piano player like a Billy Joel, a psychiatrist, and a comedian. Imagine the social distancing parties. Thank you for reading MazatlanLife, SM]