Posted tagged ‘coffee’

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

October 13, 2017

The house was cold when I woke up. I stayed under the afghan not wanting to leave the warmth. Gracie was sleeping at the end of the couch, and she didn’t want to get up either.   Finally the need for coffee got me up, and I got Gracie up. We went outside and got the papers and Gracie went into the backyard. I waited while she finished then followed her back into the house. She got treats, and I got my coffee.

One of the cartoons in the paper mentioned today is Friday the 13th. I had no idea. Unless I have an appointment I lose track of the date, and it is only when I tear off yesterday that I see where I have to go today.

The day is lovely, a sunny day with a blue sky and a bit of a breeze. It is in the 60’s, average for this time of year, but it feels colder after the warm days.

The buses are here. I saw one at Chatham light. The passengers, all older people, were wandering on the beach and near the light. I saw another bus pulling into a seafood restaurant, the sort which has buoys, nets and plastic lobsters on the outside walls. I don’t need to see the menu to know it is mostly seafood but, it always includes hamburgers and for a bit more money, cheeseburgers. Both come with fries.

I’m not a big fan of cakes with one exception, Boston cream pie which doesn’t sound like a cake but don’t be deceived. I do like cupcakes as they are just the right amount of cake. I used to love Hostess chocolate cupcakes, and my local bakery has cupcakes like them including the white loopy line across the top of the chocolate icing. I buy one every now and then. Ice cream never belongs on or beside a cake.

My favorite fruit is a banana. It is easy to eat, can be eaten alone, or in cereal or with ice cream in a banana split. In Africa the peel made them safe to eat without washing them first. They were perfect food to buy when traveling as they were sold along the road and at every stop. I order them every time I do Peapod grocery shopping.

Eggs are great for any meal. Many times I make bacon and eggs for dinner. I like the yoke soft so I can slop it up with the toast. My egg salad must have celery and lettuce as it is a bit bland without them. Besides, I like the crunch.

I am not a picky eater. I eat with discretion.

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“All was silent as before, all silent save the dripping rain.”

September 23, 2017

Last night was a restless dog night. I have been a light sleeper since Gracie has been sick so I hear her moving around and usually turn on the light to check on her. Last night I turned on the light at 2 as I heard her having a problem settling in her crate. She finally gave up on the crate and got on the couch with me. I couldn’t sleep so I checked my e-mail and turned on the TV. By the time I went back to sleep, it was close to 4. Gracie meanwhile had returned to her crate. This morning I woke at 9. Gracie slept. I just sat for a while. I turned on the news and still sat. Gracie still slept. At 10 I roused myself from my stupor, made coffee and took Gracie outside while I got the papers. She is now sleeping on the couch. I am still awake.

The wind and rain are gone but the dampness and the clouds are still here. The paper says partial sun today. Being a bit literal, I’m figuring only a bit of the sun will appear. Parts of it will be missing. I’m thinking all of the sun will be missing given the weather right now.

When I was a kid, a wet Saturday was the worst. Too much rain meant staying inside the house trying to find stuff to keep me occupied. At noon, there was always Creature Double Feature. I figure that’s where I got my love for old black and white science fiction movies. I’d read if I could find a quiet place in our small house filled with too many people. I could play in the cellar and ride my bike in a circle around the stairs, but that got old quickly. Sometimes my mother would let us out, more for her sanity than anything else. If it was still matinee season, we’d convince my dad to drive my brother and me uptown to the movie theater. My dad always said yes. He was only too glad to be rid of us. That was about it for a rainy Saturday.

When I was kid, I used to eat sardines. I’d open the can with the attached metal key, slide the flap thing into the key and then roll back the top with the key hoping to get the can open. Sometimes I’d lose the lid when the can was only partially opened. That meant digging out the sardines in pieces. I’d eat the sardines, whole or in pieces, on Saltine crackers. The idea of eating sardines grosses me out now. They look disgusting arranged in rows in the tins.

I have no idea what today will bring. I don’t know if I’ll muster the energy to do the laundry. The only certainty is I’m going to take a nap.

“Morning is the dream renewed, the heart refreshed, earth’s forgiveness painted in the colors of the dawn.”

August 28, 2017

I love these cool and sunny mornings. When I take Gracie out, I sit on the shaded back steps for a while until I get cold or until I can smell the coffee.

There is something wonderful about mornings. The whole day is in front of me. I can do what I please and seldom have expectations as to what the day might bring. I take everything as it comes. Sometimes I have lists, but they are more like guidelines. If I don’t want to do anything, I don’t. There’s always tomorrow.

My morning rituals take about 5 minutes to complete before I can sit and drink my coffee, also a ritual I suppose. They are the only parts of the day which never change. I take Gracie out and then feed her and Maddie breakfast. The two patiently wait knowing what’s coming. After breakfast each gets a treat. Maddie’s patience is usually gone by then, and she meows at me while Gracie just sits waiting. Satisfied, the two then take their first naps of the day.

When I was a kid, I was seldom home on a summer day. I’d go to the playground or  roam around on my bike. My mother never really knew where I was at any given time,  but she didn’t worry. No mothers worried back then. Our world was small, confined mostly to the neighborhood, the school and church and to the main square of our town where the library, the movie theater and the stores were. Nothing bad ever happened when I was a kid.

My mother taught us not to talk to strangers. I figure she was just hedging her bets. My town didn’t have strangers. I think my father knew everybody. He and my mother had lived there since before high school, before they’d met each other. I was simply George’s oldest, and people would stop me and say hello and tell me to say hello to my mother or father or both.

I hitchhiked when I was a senior in high school and when I was in college. I also hitched when I was in Ghana which was a quicker way to get home than to wait for the lorry to fill. Never did I think of my mother and her admonition about strangers. I just wanted to get from one place to another. Nothing ever happened. I never even felt threatened. That’s the way it was back then.

“Coffee first. Save the world later.”

August 20, 2017

The morning is just so beautiful with a bright, bright sun, the bluest of skies and a slight breeze, deck weather for sure. It is already getting hot, an August heat, but the deck has branches hanging over it and an umbrella to keep the sun at bay. Tonight is movie night.

My next door neighbors barbecue every Sunday. He cooks, and it is always chicken wings, just plain chicken wings, no sauce, no sides. I can usually smell the wings cooking so I go outside to yell hello from my deck to theirs. They always invite me over.

As soon as I wake up, I look forward to my first sip of coffee. I can hear it dripping into the carafe, and the house fills with the aroma of that coffee brewing. My sense of smell works overtime. I impatiently wait and sometimes even stand in the kitchen to watch. I could take it mid-brew, but I choose to wait, to heighten the expectation.

Recently I’ve been drinking African blend which is a bit funny as I never had real coffee in Ghana, only instant. I got used to it but was never a fan. On my last trip, my friends brought coffee bags, and they tasted far better than the instant, but we had had real coffee at Zania Lodge which spoiled me a bit; however, I adjusted to the instant though my taste buds were severely disappointed.

My house is a full cape which means it has two front windows on each side of the door. In the back, there is a dormer which gives my house three floors in the back but only one floor in the front. My deck is off the second floor in the back. I like being suspended above the ground.

I have to go out to get the fixings for tonight’s movie food. We’re having a jalapeño dip with blue corn chips and maybe a Stromboli. I have the ingredients for that on my shopping list, but oftentimes my trip to the store means seeing something already made which looks delicious so I change the menu right then and there. I’m nothing if not flexible.

“How terribly strange to be 70.”

August 17, 2017

The morning is again glorious. The sun is wonderfully bright, the sky looks like the blue in a Van Gogh painting, and there is no humidity. Here it is August, and there is no humidity. The days are in the high 70’s and the nights in the mid 60’s. If I were Mother Nature, I couldn’t do better than today.

Every morning I put the coffee on then Gracie and I go get the papers. After the first paper and cup of coffee, I feed the animals. Each of my companions, Gracie and Maddie, have two dishes: one for dry and one for canned food. After filling their dishes, I have another cup of coffee and read the Cape Times. It seems my morning rituals are etched in stone. Maddie and Gracie have expectations so I seldom divert from the usual.

I have wonderful memories of growing up. At times I seem to have an idyllic view of my life back then mostly because I held on to the good with all my might and pushed the bad memories to the backs of my memory drawers. The things I remember aren’t milestones in my life. They are simply the good memories.

My life is filled with lucky choices. One you hear most about is my time in the Peace Corps, in Ghana. My hopes, my beliefs and my sense of self grew out of those two plus years. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without that experience. I think of all the places I’ve traveled, all the strange, weird foods I’ve tried and the wonderful people I’ve met, but mostly I think of how easy it has been to pick up and go to unfamiliar places and never feel lost or alone. Ghana gave me that.

Today I turned 70. It feels no different than yesterday when I was 69. It feels no different than when I turned twenty or thirty, but I don’t look the same. My hair is mostly gray. My face is wrinkled. My back hurts so I sometimes walk stooped. But what hasn’t changed are the basics of who I am, all I believe, all I know and all I have experienced through time. For that I am immensely thankful. For that I celebrate turning 70.

Gracie Update

June 18, 2017

It was another of those sorts of nights. Gracie was restless and wanted out every hour or so. I did her bidding. I slept little. She started vomiting which is what happened a week or so ago. I decided around 3:45 to take her to the 24-hour veterinary service. She was the only one there and got immediate attention. They decided to rehydrate her with the under the skin hydration and also gave her an anti-nausea medication. That’s what worked the last time, and it worked again. When we got home, around 5:30, we both went to sleep. Gracie was up around 9 and wanted out. I, of course, obeyed. She came back inside and slept. She is still asleep.

I learned that at 3:45 on a before summer Sunday morning there isn’t any traffic. I also learned that the drive-up Dunkin Donuts opens at 5 which was just in time for me. Butternut donuts are freshest at 5:10. The sky is light at that time of the morning. I hadn’t thought about that. It was the light at the end of the day which has mostly taken my attention.

I learned a lot this early morning.

“All sorrows are less with bread. ”

May 21, 2017

Today is glorious. It is sunny and squint your eyes bright. There is barely a breeze. The high today will be 65˚. I’m thinking a perfect early spring day.

I woke up at some time during the night as I was cold. When I checked the thermostat, it said 63˚. I turned the heat on and it started right away. I went back to bed and fell asleep snuggled under a second afghan and warmed by the dog next to my legs.

This morning I had English muffins. I used them to hide Gracie’s pills. She was suckered by the butter. Sometimes I am too. It melts into those nooks and crannies. Coffee was the rest of my breakfast, a blend from Uganda. I had three cups.

I love bread. When I buy a loaf, I try all differents sorts of bread. I really have no favorite though Scali bread is right up there. When I was a kid, I thought bread came only in squishy white except for Saturday night’s brown bread which really didn’t seem to me to be bread at all. I like cornbread which always comes in squares. In Ghana, the bread was sold as an uncut loaf. At stops on the road, women ran to the windows to sell fruit and those loaves of bread. They cost 20 pesewas, about 20 cents. We used to pull pieces off the loaf and eat it plain. My last bread purchase was naan. It makes a good toast and an interesting sandwich. When I’m out, the choices are limited. I usually end up with rye.

Crackers are another favorite of mine. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Saltines and Ritz crackers. I’d put saltines in soup and wait to eat them when they were mushy. They also made a great snack, a peanut butter and jelly or a peanut butter and Fluff sort of cracker sandwich. Now I buy all sorts of crackers mostly to go with cheese. I really haven’t any favorites.

My favorite pie is lemon meringue, and I always have some lemon curd around the house. I also love pineapple. When I was a kid, we only had canned pineapple, and I don’t remember eating it all that much. I don’t even remember seeing a fresh pineapple in the supermarket. We always had apples and oranges and sometimes tangerines and strawberries, always as strawberry shortcake. I first tasted a variety of fruits in Ghana. I was amazed at how good mango and pawpaw (papaya) are.

It was Africa which introduced me to different foods. It gave me a willingness to try new things, some of which I still can’t pronounce, but that doesn’t matter as long as whatever it is I’m eating tastes good.