Tag Archives: coffee

sleepytime town and a storm of tempurpedic proportions

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what an odd morning. i woke in a dark room from a sad and terrible nightmare. i noticed a yellow-orange daylight peeking through tree leaves and curtain edges as i shuffled to the bathroom. downstairs, i fumbled with a fearfully small number of coffee beans, pleading with the Universe for my own fish and loaves moment, and saw the strange yellow-orange glow deepening…not like sunrise, but something more surreal.

my twelve beans ground and watered, prayers for abundance prayed, i plopped down on my couch to check some headlines and read a post or two. i heard the coffee pot plodding through its typical morning motions, water hoses stretching, dumping black-enough liquid down the yawning throat of my carafe. through the french doors to the deck, i noticed the glow grow more haunting and less natural by the minute. i double-checked my sanity and a light switch, the outdoor lights are broken, they cannot be on. right? 

having lived in lots of tornado towns and a few hurricane alleys, i felt compelled to peek at yahoo weather and then at the sky. the forecast was unremarkable, but a strange september glow permeated all of the air, all the way up  to a cloud deck unsure of its own thickness. half asleep, i dismissed the eerieness and thought about falling backwards in time…just a few more weeks until we stop saving up our daylight for the harvest.

by then, black-enough liquid was wafting its siren scent and a day’s promises through the morning air. i grabbed a cup and softly smiled at the mixture, ever grateful that my fish and loaves brewed up this strong. it won’t be a lot of coffee, but it will be good coffee…and there is a starbucks on my way to work…an office i’m actually going to today in a rare show of executive dedication. as i walked back to my laptop, the day’s deadlines, my wordpress pages and a snoring couch dog, i heard the noise, unmistakable and soothing, of a morning deluge. in the next few minutes, a few booms of thunder and a thousand buckets of rain washed that yellow-orange glow right out of the sky.

i knew it. the color of a storms coming. green electric air or orange incandescent air…they both bring up my hackles gently, like hot breath at the back of my neck. it’s calm again now, everything soaked, the air a mundane morning grey. today feels soft so far, though i suspect it will grow chaotic as more brightly lit hours approach. this mood, this morning, is unexpected after the excitement and rollercoaster ride of recent weeks. i take pause to breathe. i try to muster an enthusiasm i don’t feel, while savoring a calm i don’t often experience in the middle of a work week.

it feels like a draw-the-curtains-and-sleep-all-day kind of wednesday. that feeling couldn’t be further from the reality that’s warming up my google calendar as i type. i do get this dreamy, this sedate…when the air gets heavy enough to weigh down my eyelashes, when the world outside doesn’t want to wake up any more than i do. and here i am looking for humor and wit and brilliance to share while all i have is this soft mid-week sigh.

yawn. dream. drink. dress. do. i’ll find something to laugh about. i’ll find enough coffee and company to turn myself into the spazz we all know and sometimes love. for now, i’ll let the silence in my heart and head wrap this day in a blanket of humidity, humility and humanity.

(and as i proof this, the first sound of a real wednesday pokes  my quiet morning mind…my cat is hurling. on hardwood. oh yeah. and the coffee pot is empty already. God help me. starbucks delivery anyone?)

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clarity is in the coffee cup of the (be)holder

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mmm. sip. sip. sigh.

i woke this morning in a shiny little tuesday mood. i got my overwhelm out in yesterdayze post and got down with my master spreadsheet of lists. i feel good about where that’s going. i’ve got a special nerd flag on order for the unveiling later this week, and for what it’s worth, i’m ok with the neurosis suggested by compiling my to-do lists into a spreadsheet of many workbooks. i think i needed to succumb to the overlord within and place my feet firmly atop terra-kinda-organized.

and in an effort to flex my priorities, i carved out some time in my yesterday to see a friend, a piece of my heart, as she visited quickly and departed my metro. our lunch and laughter left me lighthearted, and inspired some musical meditation on a sunny drive home. here’s a funny thing about feeding your soul with friends, or spending some moments thinking about nothing but the exact moment at hand, the clouds in the sky, a voice lifted in out of tune appreciation…this is the kind of stuff that seems to magically insert extra time and focus into a hairy, hectic day. the “i don’t have time for this” demons settle into their back seats for a snooze cruise, hardly fighting over who i think is most important, who is an “on purpose” task and who was an “accident.” they all snore lightly, nemo snacks spilling gently onto fuzzy, sticky floor mats of accomplishment, until i get them home and into their proper routines again.

mmm. sip. sip. sigh.

so i woke today in this great mood, my responsibilities no less than yesterday, ready to plod along methodically through the rows and columns i so lovingly labeled with due dates, the sheets i marked each with a one word purpose. i opened my laptop, wondering what profound thing might come alive at the end of coffee-sweat fingers in a grand central station full of thought trains. as i scanned some internet “news,” the following words leapt from a BBC page, the foaming cappuccino thumbnail next to them swirling soft cinnamon scents from the hands of my imaginary barista:

Coffee May Prevent Depression, Scientists Say http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15059266

HaHA!! one more sign that all is right in my world! now…in the name of fair reporting, i have to say that coffee did not/has not exactly prevented depression for me, nor for some other debbie- and danny-downers i know. however, the following quote from the article made my caffeinated heart sing and the starbucks card in my pocket hum with joy:

Despite valiant efforts to show how dangerous coffee is for us, it is not proving so.

reading deeply into the article, the statistics are not as compelling as i’d like…(except for the 4-cup threshold for best-in-class depression control…thank you for the tip!)…in fact the argument for the prevention of depression is tepid at best…but no one can take what they want from statistics better than i when i try! and though this particular study makes no mention of coffee as adjunctive therapy to antidepressant medication or mood stabilizers, the raised, quivering hands of medicated and over-caffeinated respondents suggest preliminary anecdotal support for the combination.

i’ve studied this independently for years, my own uncontrolled statistics left lying around in a bowl of crazy things i wish were true, under the coupon i have for “good” gevalia coffee. it seems these days that science is validating my instincts left and right, right and left. it’s inspiring. in fact, it’s downright humbling to be so ahead of our time…to feel so gifted.

so if you haven’t figured out by now that i’ve finished almost a whole pot by myself already this morning, you clearly must needs more cups yourself. pour on, my dim-eyed morning reader…it’s about prevention, prevention, prevention! an ounce of coffee is nothing (less than a 5-hour rush!)…and if you happen to stop by your local roaster today, feel free to pick me up a pound of that cure. whole bean please…something bold. and some half and half. mmmm. sip. sip. sigh.

 

one, two…feel the burn…this coffee’s hot and my travel mug was not designed for aerobics

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here i am! head swirling, eyes tearing, coffee soothing…it’s tuesday! hmmm. this morning starts strangely, but in one happy development, i’m here tap-tap-typing away. i’d had some silly action figure idea that i’d be able to post regularly from the road…and, “hey AFT, throw your workout shoes in that travel bag while yer at it, and start you up a morning routine…you can squeeze it in between coffee and the part where you write and work a full, 10-hour teaching and technical day!” yeah. that was my internal aerobics teacher talking…you know, the one whose enthusiastic little voice i could slap right outta her mouth most days.

so i’m writing a smidge, instead of the daily beating i had scheduled in the event that i was too sleepy or too late to write anything. i was pretty convinced that i was too sleepy this morning, but my restless toddler once again altered my perceptions and plans for the day.  i found that i was fairly well wide awake after my 5:30am meltdown in response to her 5:15am meltdown. she witnessed some of my sleepy boohoo tantrum, felt bad for me, and agreed to try to get a little more sleep, since i so clearly needed it.

sneaky me, i let it buy me some coffee time and a little catch up moment, plus time to clear my blubbering, sleepy otolaryngology…and hey, i’m slipping a post in where wimpy, whiney self-flagellation was supposed to be…and trying to learn how to say otolaryngology in some way that sounds natural and less like i have a bucket of nickelodeon slime in my mouth. oh coffee my coffee. a half carafe left is my only hope today.

i’m doing the ol’ touch-n-go, driving out of here tomorrow night for another short trip. again, i humor myself thinking, “maybe…since i just taught this class…it will go magically and smoothly, efficiently and effortlessly…enough for me to carve out time for that new fitness hour and get a post in before class starts at 8am.” you know, because technical problems and environments are so predictable…just like student’s learning abilities and attitudes. snort. trainer humor. (nerd flag).

actually, in this case, the attitude part is more predictable than it would be for many of my students. now that i’ve jinxed myself, i will go on to say that i’ve been working on my favorite project, my baby…my fickle, unorganized, never sleeps through the night baby. i’m training professional candidates from the AbilityOne program, a group of non-profits for the Visually Impaired and/or Severely Disabled. like many organizations doing something new, there are still some acts of a keystone cops drama to get through at the top of the food chain before things run smoothly for us middle logistics managers. but no matter what it might have taken to get computer equipment, training materials and a qualified trainer to one site at the same time, inevitably my students walk into my training room ready and eager to learn specific technical skills and anything else i can teach them, technical skills they will add to their federal contracting training and their Bachelor’s degrees. their attitudes and gratitudes are inspiring, and they are mostly all funny as hell. it’s a regular Improv event everyday, student and teacher all yukking it up…and learning stuff too.

just writing about them this morning swells my chest a little. it gives me inspiration for my wednesday night drive outta dodge. it makes me grateful for all of the people in this world for whom kindness is their first value, with determination and humor trailing closely. kinda makes my meltdown this morning feel a little more pathetic…but i have to say it’s worth it sometimes to just let it out in one big bawl. my little fit of tears and self-pity got my daughter two more hours of sleep that i know she needed, and gave me a little time to look for my actionfigure shoes and the rest of my superhero gitch. i didn’t have room for it in my carry on this last go round. let’s see how she travels on a road trip.

 

mangled monday missives – stop and smell the dog farts

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wow, one weekend-long headache and trish is a bit grumpy and distracted on an mangled monday morning. i will go with the commenter (and dear friend) who blames all of this pain on my obvious and glorious summer awakening (unrelated to my individual disgruntled morning awakenings, or dreary middle of the night toddler-soothing awakenings of late). my headache and flagging attitude, along with a busy monday schedule, mean that these paragraphs will be short today.

i’m trying and mostly succeeding at keeping my momentum and optimism in play every day, despite several anchors and irritants that i’m suddenly dragging through the sand and my eyes. i’ve got a 105lb dog with the runs…and subsequently, a house that smells largely of dog farts, nuanced by the pungent cat food scent wafting around the main floor. tomorrow is garbage day…it’s a veritable cacophony of subtle monday morning stenches. i’m sure my toddler’s room will be refreshing after her unsettled night in diapers. thank goodness for the strong smell of coffee and febreze noticeables.

i started this blog weeks ago with a “hey, i wrote something” entry, and today i will keep it going with largely the same sentiment. a baby crying, a neck hurting, a dog farting and a monday sun hanging high already…this day is asking a lot of my patience and Love and dwindling coffee bean supply. i’m here this morning at my computer like a gym hamster on a LifeFitness wheel of words…workin’ muscles just to say i did. it’s hard to feel the value of that kind of practice in the moment…the begrudged breaths, cynical muscles, stretched linguistics, rolling eye strains…but somehow just having pushed your way through it…through the base running drills and cardio climbs…by drinking down the metaphor milk and pushing through more word crunches…it all helps…it all checks a box, feeds another dream, inspires another wish and turns “one days” into “todays,” much to my own surprise sometimes. it’s how we humans operate, even though we can’t always see the process in play. i’m falling for the romance of the word my father tried so hard to sell…discipline.

so as i ramble through some sentences, and trudge through some morning prep and an office drive, i will sip at my coffee beans, find my gratitude and a bottle of aleve, and pat myself on the back for a run or two around the wonder wheel. i’ll start the day and my interactions as gently as a i can…push the aerobics instructor voices out of my head and out of my way, cheer and sneer at the morning joggers on my commute, and shake hands with this week that promises much…as much as i make of it.

peace, kids. and you too roscoe…that last airy audible, i’m sure, is wafting my way with olfactory gifts…and that’s my cue…

the littlest enabler never falls far from the tree

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what a funny, funny morning…delightfully mixed with darks and lights and now one fresh latte. see, here’s the thing…i love coffee. i’ll go so far as to say that i am in a long term, committed relationship with coffee. if i were to display my relationship status on Facebook, it would say “in a relationship with coffee.” i both gulp and savor the coffee that i make at home using my killer Bunn coffee maker with the insulated caraffe (oh yeah)…i really do. it wakes me enough to get my daughter and i to her daycare and me back home for work, and fuels some seriously furious writing and working in my early morning hours. i love a nice french press…i’ll even drink hotel room coffee on my way to get better coffee.

and then there’s this other kind, the kind that rounds out this bottom-most layer of my personal food pyramid. that foundational element of my nutrition is…starbucks. and you purists, you big-business haters can say what you will, i also frequent my local roaster for beans and yummy things…but starbucks has replaced one of my favorite childhood treats, the happy meal, with the happy cup (also a meal in my world…hey there’s milk in there!).

and so i beget a brand new dietary legacy, developing from careful and early exposure to the crack-like attraction, the siren call of starbucks and her twin-tailed mermaid. my two and half year old will wave off a chicken nugget every time. she’s never asked for a happy meal (i’m not sure she’s ever seen one. i’ve ordered some since she’s been alive, but only for me…i get first dibs on the prize that way and take the junk food hit for the team). but this morning, as we buckled in for our short car ride to school, after a nice breakfast for her including a tall glass (aka sippy cup) of milk, she announced proudly and clearly that we “have to go to starbucks first.”

i gasped in the back of my throat, choked up, almost teary-eyed. she’s so mine. sigh.  it was the first time for her, unprompted. if you couldn’t tell she was a mini-me at first sight, if you somehow missed her becoming an obvious chip off the ol’ chatterbox these last months, the clarity and firmness with which she announced her desire for starbucks this morning, or the way she sometimes calls her milk “my coffee,” is the clearest giveaway i know. how could i say no? i didn’t need more coffee, she didn’t need more milk…but she coaxed me with repeat calls for a juicebox…the kind only starbucks can offer, the beverage i could not deliver from the front seat of my sporty mom-wagon (and before you mark me delusional, please know that i understand the oxymoronic nature of that expression).

i promise, i haven’t actually tried to indoctrinate my daughter into the starbucks culture. i’m not trying to establish brand loyalty at age 2, especially not to a global chain. (i’m also NOT giving her actual coffee…i am sane enough to treasure a toddler’s naptime)…but like Ronald spun my world of rewards as a kid, becoming iconic, and the benchmark for the fast food group that sits a bit higher on my pyramid than coffee, starbucks’ specific flavors are laying lifetime foundations in her tiny, busy brain. what i mean about benchmarks, for both mcdonalds and now starbucks, is that there are “better” fries in the world, more “gourmet” chicken nuggets…but for me, mcdonalds is a separate flavor set, striking always familiar chords on my tastebuds, dancing comforting lullabies on my tongue…kind of how taco bell isn’t mexican food, it’s the taco bell food group (six ingredients, mixed two-hundred ways).

i didn’t need more coffee…i’ve been trying to cut back actually (failing miserably, happily and spastically). so i wavered, i waffled and then decided that since she asked, and it was her first time, i really should reward her ability to articulate in words what she wants. yeah. that’s right. it’s good parenting.  granted, she faked me out with the juicebox thing and lobbied for the chocolate milk when we arrived. i caved. she eats and drinks well at her daycare…all that wholesome, home-cooked food i can’t pronounce but that she can say in three languages…a little chocolate milk in the morning never killed anyone…especially toothpicks like her and me.

“have to have starbucks FIRST (please)” –  awe….ok, i had to prompt for the “please” part…but that lilting two and half year old voice, those clear, blue velvet eyes, the call of a siren i can hardly resist anyway. what the, um…heck…was i supposed to do? i won’t give in every time, but a girl’s first time is special.

my latte is already gone, as though it never happened. her chocolate milk is in the fridge, not even half-finished. she has way better self-control than i do. hopefully she will help keep her and her mommy’s vices in check…and to herself for a while.

balanced beaming and bumper cars

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bleah. monday morning. my illuminated life still delivers plenty of dimly lit, squinty-eyed, grumbly-breathed monday mornings. i polished off a particularly outrageous, particularly “me” weekend last night knowing that the physical and psychic transition into this day might drag a bit…and it is. Reluctance is leading Team Motivation this morning and a couple of important members are missing from the round table.

coffee is speaking up, and like my dad, is always a little miffed at the ones who call in sick on a monday. it means that coffee has a LOT of extra work to do, and has to listen to the others bitch and moan while it covers the whole team’s ass. now coffee and another motivator..the one i’ve never met in person and whose name i don’t remember (instinct? survival instinct? something base like that)…are pushing me to live today, to do the things that make me proud and happy and that fund the rest of these words and dreams. work, dishes, laundry, cat-food shopping…it’s hard to push a limp body up a monday morning hill.

so this limp body is twitching, stretching proudly (and gently, ouch), and straightening up to face the parts of life that come after a weekend of friends, shooting guns for fun, baking yummy treats, playing scrabble, watching movies, losing sleep from all the excitement and then tubing my way down the shenandoah and potomac rivers on the clearest, sunniest day of the summer. i’m recovering from a weekend “off” – of a lot of things. i left my monday through friday job where it belongs, my baby girl was on her own vacation for a few days, and the darker side of my attitude took a good long hike. two of my favorite people provided companionship and affection and enough laughter to make my belly sore. i believe i made the most of a rockin’ summer weekend. if there was more to be made, i was too happy, busy and exhausted to notice.

i did notice this morning, however, all of the chores, tasks and obligations i either skipped or that were already laid out for this week. ugh. i’ve never been great at balance. i mean the physical kind. it plagued me in some sports that i was otherwise good at, and looms in my mind as the inevitable reason i would fail a roadside sobriety test, no matter my condition. i can’t even walk down a sidewalk without playing bumper cars between friends. i know there are ways to work on balance…core muscles, muscle memory and practice…but my innate sense of balance has a starting point, a set point…and it’s a little squirrely on its best day (except that squirrels are actually pretty good on a balance beam, if not a little spazztastic elsewhere). the point is, i know i can’t pull off “the dream,” my purpose, without working this balance thing.  the elated, the dreary, the bone-crushingly sad, the euphoric, the mystical, the blue, the exhilarating, the exhausting, the indignant and the livid…all of those influences inside me have to balance, at least enough to stay on or in view of the Path…wherever its twisty terrain leads. so right now i’m grateful for all of you “bumper cars” who help me stumble along. i’ll need a beltway-monday full of them today.

(c)rickety morning

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the flood gates opened yesterday and words upon words tumbled out of my head, through fingers, sneaking into posts, emails and texts, some well and some badly. now i feel a bit spent, a little weak…like the morning after a good puking drunk. i want to write with inspiration, and i do feel inspired…to do something…but somehow the jackhammer outside my front door at 7:27 am on a fryday is jarring me out of any deeper thoughts than these. i thought jackhammers were only metaphorical anymore, or only used in inherently loud places like highways and metro stops. it seems more meaningful, like a sign (of what?), for the crew to be here, disturbing my tiny townhouse neighborhood where children’s elevated laughter is tolerated…sometimes. i’m more grateful this morning than ever that “puking drunk” appears rarely in my adult lexicon. jackhammers and hangovers? too poetic to be real.

so under all of the rainbows exist very normal days…the to and fro of the workaday world…our noses and eyes cast downward at the grindstones that feed us, cast away from loftier things. that workaday world beckons me, a reluctant participant again lately, as i steal morning moments and tuck them away for myself, here behind these words. i suppose that will be easy enough to remember if i want to peruse them again later…i hate when i put things in that “special place” i won’t forget. it’s always the same special place that i will never remember later. i try not to spend too much time browsing old moments, but sometimes i need to refresh my memory of just who i’ve become and who i want to be today, so it’s nice to keep certain ones in a safe place. and i will admit to some reminiscing and sentimentality when it comes to my relationship with letters A-Z. that, and with a life full of outrageously ALIVE moments, it’s nice to capture a few and use them to fuel the rush and the desire to make more. it helps to remember how i can feel sometimes…because feelings are so fickle…like my big family, they can’t sit still or stay all together very long without causing some chaos, and some of them are rather reluctant partners when paired for certain tasks.

it’s early, in a quiet house, a quiet heart and a settled mind…that wasn’t very much jackhammering after all. even in the quiet i’m not finding some profound thing to say, some “hook” for a reader other than me, so let these words be part of my peace meditation today. let me find joy and balance and soul on a soft, crickety friday. and please let me find one more cup of steaming coffee in the carafe in the kitchen. please.