Posted tagged ‘coffee’

“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.

“The eyes of spring, so azure, Are peeping from the ground; They are the darling violets, That I in nosegays bound.”

May 18, 2017

My wish came true. Yesterday was sunny and hot, 75˚ hot. I’d complain, but Boston hit 90˚ so I’m content at 75˚. It will be the same today.

The morning has a languid feel to it. I do hear a single bird, but the rest are gone, probably perching in the shade. This room where I spend most of my time is a refuge from the heat as it is in the back of the house and stays dark and cool until the afternoon when the sun moves to the west and streams through these back windows.

I went to the dump yesterday, one of my three errands. Poor Gracie stayed home as the other errands would have meant her sitting in a hot car. I tricked her by bringing the trash bags out early then sitting down for coffee and the papers. She forgot all about the trash and hopped on the couch for a morning nap. She is now back to getting into her crate. Her back legs were iffy, but they seem fine now. She gets in the crate and sticks out her head for a treat. I never refuse.

When I was a kid, I gave my mother dandelion bouquets. She always gushed at the beauty of the flowers then she’d put them in a vase, usually a jelly jar, which exalted them from their weedy status. I remember making a wish then blowing the dandelion seeds and watching the wind take them.

In my mother’s backyard, she had lilies of the valley and violets growing on the top dirt shelf of a rock wall. Some of the lilies were blue from their contact with the violets. I dug up and took some lilies and some violets home with me so I could plant then in my yard. They have spread all over. The lilies are in a front side garden with only a few violets here and there among them. The violets in the backyard took a while to grow while the lilies dug in right away and are now in clumps around the fence and some trees. Every time I see them, I think of my mother and her garden.

“It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings.”

October 25, 2016

When I first got home from Ghana, I was waking up around 4, or if I slept in, around 5. Now I am waking up at 8 or, like today, closer to 9. In Ghana, I was asleep by 9 or 9:30 at the latest. Every morning, the rooster woke me up when it was still dark, and I’d sleep fitfully until 6 or so. I go to bed much later now, and there are no roosters or calls to prayer   in the early mornings to wake me up. Where am I going with this? Well, I am writing Coffee so much later now. I take my time in the mornings and read both papers. I also do the crossword in the Globe and the cryptogram in the Cape Times. Sometimes I have breakfast, but most mornings I just drink coffee. I am in no hurry. That’s a piece of Ghana still with me, and I’m holding on to that for a while. Mornings should be leisurely. I can think of no better way to start the day.

For the first time, Massachusetts is allowing early voting. I figure on hitting the booth today. I figure it is a foregone conclusion as to who will win the state. Massachusetts is about as blue a state as there is. We even voted for McGovern, and I think we were the only state which did. Later, after President Nixon resigned, bumper stickers appeared which said, “Don’t blame me. I’m from Massachusetts.”It was wonderful being clairvoyant.

This morning I watched an Edward G. Robinson movie on TCM called Confessions of a Nazi Spy which was released in 1939. EGR played an FBI agent who hunts down Nazi spies one at a time by capturing members of a spy ring operating in the United States. I did a bit of sleuthing and found out it was based on the articles of former FBI agent Leon G. Turror who had been active in investigating Nazi spy rings in the United States prior to the war and lost his position at the Bureau when he published the articles without permission. The movie was banned in Germany, Japan and many Latin American and European countries. The music played during the credits was God Bless America. I liked the movie and figure the obvious propaganda was well timed.

My laundry is sitting in front of the cellar door where it has been for five or six days. I have plenty of clean clothes of all sorts. Needing clothes seems to drive my doing the laundry; however, I am getting tired of looking at that laundry bag so I have a couple of choices. I can throw the bag down the cellar stairs and shut the door or I can do the laundry. I’m leaning toward doing the laundry. I can be a sloth for only so long.

“Where would we be without salt?”

October 20, 2016

Today I feel lazy. I woke up early but have done nothing of any substance unless you count reading 2 papers and drinking 3 cups of coffee. I’m counting them.

Yesterday I was busy. First was helping at the high school from 8-11. It was a practical exercise for the seniors to give them an idea of an adult’s budget, what salary each might make and what had to be deducted from that salary. I actually had to set my alarm to get up in time. In the early afternoon, I spent an hour and half with my neighbor. We are working to improve her English. After that was a quick trip to the lab then we went to the dump. I didn’t settle in at home until close to 4. I figure a busy day earns me a lazy day.

For the most part, I watched the debate last night. I chuckled a few times and groaned every time Donald sniffed. Had I been in college the sniffing would have prompted a great drinking game. Some of his comments were frightening.

Sometimes I have a craving for salt. That always reminds me of the Star Trek episode where Kirk, Bones and a doomed crew member beam down to a planet so Bones can give his former girl friend, Nancy, and her husband physicals. Nancy is really a shift-shaping monster who sucks salt from peoples’ bodies. Sometimes I totally understand that need, but most times Lay’s potato chips work for me. Today is a beautiful day. It is cooler than it has been, but that’s okay as it’s been far too hot for this time of year. My house is chilly. I had windows open all night. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and my feet are cold. I do hate cold feet.