Posted tagged ‘coffee’

“A basket of ripe fruit is holier than any prayer book.”

February 19, 2018

When I got the papers this morning, I expected a warm day, but I was disappointed. It’s a chilly day. The sky is cloudy and rain is predicted for tonight. I do have a couple of errands to do later.

This morning, while my coffee was brewing, I had a surprise burst of energy. I polished a shelf, swept the kitchen, washed the cat dish and cleaned the sink and counter. That’s the most housework I’ve done in a few weeks. I’d like to think this burst of energy will be a rare event.

I treated myself this morning and had two lemon biscotti with my coffee. I love the taste of lemon so much I could live on lemon squares. Lemon meringue pie tops my list of favorite pies. I think we were one of the few families where a lemon meringue pie was traditional for Thanksgiving. I even learned to cook a few dishes with preserved lemons.

I’d never turn down anything made with pineapple except maybe pizza. In Ghana I ate pineapple just about every day as part of my lunch, always a bowl of fresh fruits. I like Thai food with pineapple. I almost don’t care about the other ingredients. In my cook book from Peace Corps Ghana was a recipe for pineapple upside down cake. I always wanted to make it, but I had no oven, only a charcoal burner. A couple of old cook books from the 50’s have pictures of a finished pineapple upside cake. They are perfect and have a cherry in the middle hole of the pineapple.

When I was kid, only a few fruits were available all year. My mother bought bananas, oranges and apples. The apples were always red. The oranges had seeds. In the summer we had watermelon and grapes, green grapes. At Thanksgiving we had tangerines, our parade snack. I didn’t even know fruits likes mangoes and papayas existed. Coconuts were on tropical islands in the books I read. We were fruit deprived.

“A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus.”

December 4, 2017

It has already been a long day. Alexa woke me up at seven. I asked her for another half hour, and she obliged. I got up after the 7:30 Alexa call, got dressed and hit the road. Gracie had her second acupuncture appointment. She was good and stood patiently until it was over. It took about an hour. When we got home, she ate and I had coffee and read the paper. The morning was normal. Then I took a nap. Yup, a morning nap, and I just woke up, got another cup of coffee and turned on the TV. I’m watching Krampus. Nothing is better than a movie about a horned-beast at Christmas who punishes naughty children. That sure beats coal in the stocking.

Today has a muted sun hiding behind the clouds. Every now and then it appears and  brightens the day for a bit then the clouds take over again. At least it is warmish.

I did get a few things done yesterday, but I’m the only one who’d notice. The clean clothes piled on the rocking chair have disappeared. I carried them upstairs and put them away. The two bags of newspapers and the boxes which were by the front door are now in the trunk. I’ll bring them to the dump on Wednesday when it reopens. The kitchen floor and the hall are clean. I vacuumed. The pile of catalogues is greatly diminished. I went through most of them and ordered a few things on line. I’m sure, though, they’ll be plenty in today’s mail to take their places.

Last night was game night. This time I was a winner. At the last game night Tony and I won nothing. Clare won them all. Last night she won Phase 10, and I won two games of Sorry. Tony was stuck with the L on his forehead.

I’m going out later. Skip is coming tomorrow to do my outside lights so I need a few things: a spot light, a couple of wreaths and some lengths of pine garland for inside the house. Tomorrow, Skip and I will go and choose my tree so he can lug it inside and set it up for me. I’ll start decorating it and the house tomorrow.

I noticed last night that many houses have Christmas lights, more than usual this early.  Some houses are decked in all white lights, some are LED colored sets and others are regular colored bulbs. Mine will be a combination. The driveway fence already has a trail of white lights leading to a huge star. That is always lit to keep the darkness at bay. The front fence will have colored bulbs as will the deck rail in the back. One tree on the side of the house will have huge ornaments lit by a spotlight. An old sled will stand by the front door with ice skates draped on it. They’ll have regular lights.

Krampus is just about over now. It isn’t Hallmark, but it sort of had a happy ending. It just depends on your definition of happy.

“Laziness is the first step towards efficiency.”

November 24, 2017

Gracie and I slept so late it was mirror to the nose time. After I finally woke up, I didn’t rush but rather took my time completing the usual morning tasks. Feeding Gracie came right after setting the coffee to brew. The papers took a while to read, and I had to do the crossword puzzles. Despite the hour being closer to lunch, I didn’t skip breakfast: toast with my second cup of coffee.

I have designated today sloth day.  I’m not even dressed. All the sales don’t even tempt to go out, but I will shop tomorrow on small business Saturday as I still need a few gifts. Last night I went through a clowder of catalogues (I choose clowder because I like the alliteration) and found a few smaller presents I’ll order on line tomorrow. My list is short. I’m getting close to the end.

Dinner yesterday was wonderful. My plate was so filled I couldn’t eat it all and had to take home a doggie bag.  There was turkey, of course, gravy, mashed and sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and cranberry sauce.; however, despite this groaning plate, I did find room for  dessert: creme brûlée. My logic was it is a light dessert, easily managed. I ate every bit. Now I am looking forward to tonight’s dinner: leftovers.

The restaurant was filled. The whole time we were there not a single table stayed empty for more than a couple of minutes. We sat one tier up from the windows and had a panoramic view of the ocean, close to the shore and calm with no white caps, and we watched the spectacular setting of an orange-red sun bright with light as it disappeared below the breakwater. It was a perfect ending to a lovely day with friends, dinner and leftovers.

“My weak spot is laziness. Oh, I have a lot of weak spots: cookies, croissants.”

November 14, 2017

I was awakened at five by Gracie’s panting so I got up and opened the front door. I didn’t go with her but did check a couple of minuets later, no Gracie on the grass. In a panic I ran barefooted outside to the wet, cold lawn then noticed the lights, the motion detector lights, were on in the backyard. I had left the gate open and Gracie saw it, went in the yard and did her business. She showed up a bit later at the front door. I was thrilled. That means on the coldest nights Gracie can go alone while I stay inside and man the door. During the daytime, though, I’ll go with her.

I had an early morning meeting, early for me anyway, at nine. Alexa’s dulcet tones were set to wake me, but I beat her to it and woke up on my own. That gave me a chance for coffee and a tiny bit of the paper. I was meeting ready.

Dismal is still with us. The sky is cloudy but not as dark as it has been. It will get down to the 30’s tonight. I am not enthused.

This time of year, my mother and I used to buy just about every issue of the Christmas magazines. We’d talk on the phone discussing the recipes and the decorations and then we’d decide what new recipes to try. My usual Christmas goodies to make were two or three kinds of cookies, one being orange cookies, my mother’s favorite, date-nut bread, fudge and toffee. My mother made mostly cookies, one kind was always sugar cookies. They were my favorite. She made great sugar cookies. My father was thrilled this time of year. All the goodies were in tins on the dining room table. He’d make several trips every day. Every morning he had date-nut bread slathered with butter. I used his mother’s recipe, about the only good thing she made. To say she wasn’t an inspired cook is an understatement, but the weird thing is the date-nut bread recipe is the only recipe handed down from my grandmothers.

Every Wednesday both newspapers have food day so I cut out recipes I know I’ll  probably never make but want to have just in case. I also cut out recipes from magazines for the same reason. Under my table here in the den are three huge baskets. The middle one is overflowing with recipes. Every now and then I pull them out and go through a few piles in case one inspires me to action. I keep telling myself the recipes need to be organized but that’s as far as I get.

I have a couple of house things to do but none are pressing. That might have to do with my having three new books to read from the library. They are right where I can see them, and I swear I can hear them calling my name.

“In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.”

November 12, 2017

The sky is cloudy again, and it’s chilly, low 40’s chilly. My heat is on almost constantly. Nothing is moving. I can see the backyard through my den window and not a branch, even the smallest, is moving. I’m glad for the stillness. It helps to keep the cold at bay. There is a chance of rain later.

Gracie and I have to go to Agway. I am out of canned dog food, and that’s a calamity. I also need to buy biscuits, dog and cat treats, cat food and bird seed. Shopping at Agway is, for me, never an inexpensive stop. My animals expect and do get the best. Gracie is pickier than the cat and drives me crazy when she turns her face away from the treat I’m offering and holds out for something better which she usually gets. It is too late now to alter the behavior I have fostered in Gracie, the spoiled dog.

This morning I enjoyed biscotti with my coffee. It was, of course, chocolate biscotti. My  mother wasn’t a coffee drinker except with biscotti which she loved. When she came to visit, I’d give her a half cup of coffee purely for dunking purposes. One Christmas she even made her own biscotti, and it was delicious. She kept a few but sent most of it home with me as the rest of the family didn’t eat biscotti. What fools they were!!

The cloudy days make me feel languid. I need a bit of sunlight, a natural pick-me-up. It is so easy to love a sunny day and feel like conquering the world; instead, I just sit here hoping for a sudden jolt of energy.

Having lived here for so long, I am familiar with all the quirks of my house. I can identify the sounds. That’s the ice maker adding water or dropping cubes in the tray.  I can hear the clicks of the furnace before the heat blasts. The thump is Maddie jumping off the couch or from one step to another. I used to hear the scurry off the mice in the eaves, but the exterminator took care of that. Just a few minutes ago, I heard an unfamiliar sound. I stopped typing to listen. The sound had a rhythm, a rat-tat. I knew it had to be a woodpecker. I banged the wall, but the sound stopped for only a minute. I had to go out to the deck to scare the bird away. The sound has stopped.

Tonight is game night and football night as the Pats are playing the Broncos. We’ll all be watching. My sister in Colorado is working on her football game menu. The Pats never do well in Denver, but this year Denver is not doing well. They are last in their conference with a 3 and 5 record. The Pats are first in theirs with a 6 and 2 record. The Pats are favored. I hope that comes to fruition.

My dance card is not empty for a change thanks to game night.

“I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s would still be open.”

October 28, 2017

My morning ritual seldom changes. I take my time. There is rarely a rush. The first thing I do is put the couch, aka my bed, to rights then I go out with Gracie, pick up the papers and put her into the yard. When we come back inside, I start the coffee, and while it’s brewing, I feed Maddie and Gracie. At this point I am into the first fifteen minutes of the morning. I grab my cup of coffee and read the Globe then toast an English muffin, grab another cup of coffee and read the Cape Cod Times. By the time I am finished with the cryptogram, I’m about an hour and a half into the day. My e-mail is next then I stir my creative juices and start in on writing Coffee. Sometimes my muse is wild with inspiration while other times I just sit and stare hoping for the whisper of an idea. I have been writing Coffee for 12+ years. The sitting and staring are getting more frequent.

When I was a kid, I sometimes had to go to confession on Saturday. I didn’t have a whole lot to confess so I used to pad my transgressions. I’d mention lying though I seldom lied. I did fight with my brother so I had that to fall back on. Disrespecting my mother or father was a good one. I think every kid used it. I wasn’t mouthy, but I was great at eye rolling or smirking. I used to give numbers like lying five times. Those were purely speculative. I never really kept count. The priest would mete out my penance. Usually it was a few Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers. I said them quickly so I could get out of there. I didn’t want people thinking I was overloaded with sins meriting a huge penance.

Today is cooler than it’s been but still sunny. The house was cold when I woke up. I turned on the heat and put on socks. I hate having cold feet.

I’m back on YouTube. Today is disaster day. I’ve watched tsunamis and volcanos and now it’s a meteor. Frantic scientists, members of the near Earth orbit emergency task force, are working to prevent the meteors from colliding with Earth and destroying life as we know it. Isn’t that always the way?

“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.

“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.