Tag Archives: COFFEE

To 2014

coffee

I’ve noticed I tend to try to be optimistic in my blogs; my instinct is to end them with some sentiment of hopefulness.

What’s interesting is that I’ve also noticed that I’m the opposite when I talk one-on-one with people: I feel the need to be very clear in communicating exactly why something sucks. It’s frustrating, sometimes, because the best-intentioned folks are put in the position of trying to talk me out of that negativity, but from my point of view, their positivity means that I’ve failed to communicate my troubles to them.

When they argue that there’s reason to feel better, I hear it almost as an inadvertent judgment—they think I am failing to see the happy truth, failing to do what needs to be done. To me, I’m very, very aware of truth, at least as it applies in my own brain, but if they can’t see that, then I’m failing to explain it to others.

Introspection does not wear well on me. I am prone to self-loathing spirals.

In saner moments, of course, this is all very self-centered and gross. But the compulsion to communicate rules all in me.

Today there’s been more resignation than compulsion. I was first too tired to care; now I’m too caffeinated to dwell.

Looking back on this time last year, as is obviously the day’s tradition, I’m not sure what conclusions I should draw. I’m afraid not enough has changed. I’m afraid that the things that have changed, that are even now changing, have not done so for the better. I’m afraid that all this might still be true a year hence. I’m afraid the regrets I have, I still have, that predate 2013 still won’t be dissolved by this time next year.

But the day is built on hopefulness. As is the blog. And so there shall be hope. (And good lord in heaven, theis triple-grande mocha is helping.) Happy New Year. Here’s to 2014.

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Zen and the Art of Not Fucking It Up

An uncharacteristically smooth and uneventful week for my humours—partly the reason I haven’t been able to generate a blog. When everything seems pretty well stabilized, you don’t want to go hyper-focusing on one thing and throwing everything off balance.

Basically, the less involved my conscious brain is, the better. Don’t want to go waking that shit up.

(Pretty much the opposite of the times when I’m bogged down in something and try to haul myself out by blogging about a different topic entirely. Or other times, when I figure if I’m that deep already, might as well just keep digging.)

In fact, I was just talking with McD about mental corrective measures yesterday—how “Arguing With Assholes in my Head” has become a sort of consciousness shock-collar for me, something that pops into my head when I find myself mentally playing out an argument that has little to no basis in reality. All of a sudden, Tom Lehr’s silly, soaring melody pops in, with those words—something so irreverent and fun and accurate.

It’s worked pretty well, actually. Like smacking a dog on the nose every time it starts to go for the dinner table. Would be fun to think that my brain is finally making progress in its obedience training.

Do I sound schizophrenic here? Eh, at least we’re getting along.

Among this week’s pleasant-but-not-disruptively-so occurrences:

Fantasy football win. Damn near lost by .02 points (which probably would’ve been enough to throw this week off-kilter from the get-go), but pulled it out thanks to a single-point post-interception tackle by Lance Moore. So at least he’s good for something.

Long-procrastinated work assignments completed. Should’ve been done a month ago, which makes them even more stressful—what started out as so simple I didn’t have to worry about them turned into seemingly impossible tasks (because why couldn’t I get them done?). The upside: Way more relief than was really warranted.

The beautiful combination of wide sidewalks, a bicycle, and Audible. Tina Fey is going to be solely responsible for getting me back into shape.

Regular thunderstorms.

Wine and coworkers in a bayfront back yard. Boss-hosted party with homemade Indian food and odd (and only occasionally off-putting) writers and editors.

Another team trivia night to look forward to. Team Aiming for Third is probably going to need another name. And more correct answers.

Progress on my puzzle. (Hey, point is: It’s the little things.)

A calm, obligation-free Friday. A spontaneous lunch outing with McD, a triple-grande mocha, a blog in the books, and a beautiful expanse of unfettered, football-filled weekend to gaze out upon.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

scooter

San Diego transportation, in style.

I don’t mean to brag, but I just got an 18-pack of Bud Light for $13.69 and BOGO parmesan cheese—I feel a sense of accomplishment. (Also, on Thursday I finished my book just in time for PTI—talk about vacation, right?)

Oh, yeah, and I got my cast off yesterday. (Woooooooo…ew, my body is vile.)

But the biggest accomplishments of this vacation—indeed, the whole point of it—centered on my trip to San Diego. Here are some of the things I did:

  • Sat next to a guy who was even more freaked out about the choppy-droppy flight than I was. (Seriously, he was shaking and twitching.)
  • Negotiated a two-minute layover in ATL. On crutches.
  • Learned  how to use a knee scooter like a skilled, responsible pedestrian.
  • …and then rode it bicycle-style down a hill before Thing 2 pushed me across the street.
Wore a basket.

Wore a basket.

  • Diagnosed the difference between a heat wave in Florida and one in SD. (AC is, apparently, optional in SoCal.)
  • Bought additional shorts and tank tops at Target.
  • Shopped for sugar skulls and socks and shot glasses in Seaport Village, Spanish Art Village, Hillcrest and Ocean Beach.
  • Saw sandcastles!
beaver

Took awesome pictures.

  • Slept with the door open.
  • Did my fantasy football draft in a dark, cool bar at 4 p.m. (Verdict so far? Fuck yeah Wes Welker.)
  • Witnessed a plethora of bananas.
  • Bonded with Thing 2’s friends over football, beer and Intervention.
  • Caught up on My Drunk Kitchen.
Hell yeah dancing bananas.

Hell yeah dancing bananas.

  • Got coffee at five different coffee shops and drinks at 10 different bars in six days.
  • Ate burgers, carbonara, pizza, pigs in blankets, homemade salsa and five different kinds of tacos.
  • Played “Boy Named Sue,” “Doin’ It” and “Brave” with a single jukebox dollar.
  • Danced in a stranger’s apartment.
Wore a pig.

Wore a pig.

    • Skyped with Thing 1 in Raleigh. (With special guest appearance by Captain Slack!)
    • Spent an afternoon/evening brewery-hopping for three different San Diego samplers and some home brew nightcaps.

And now? At long last, wrote a blog.

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Food Fail

Today's trashcan tells the tale. And it's a sad tale, too. Especially for the rejected apple.

Today’s trashcan tells the tale. And it’s a sad tale, too. Especially for the rejected apple.

When my intestines started barking around 11 this morning, there were a few possible culprits.

Most signs would point to the pepperoni-and-cheddar sandwich I had for breakfast. (On whole wheat! Healthy!) (…with mayo.) However, the grumbly tummy also could’ve been tied to the triple-grande mocha that had so jolted my system I actually found myself wondering if the grumpy little barista had laced it with cocaine. I don’t know why a grumpy little barista would exercise her anger by being so generous with her cocaine stash, but logic is not the strong suit of the hyper-caffeinated Banana.

Come to think of it, that pepperoni had probably expired, too.

Things seemed to have settled down after a trip to the gym, but I wasn’t gonna let my digestive system off the hook that easily. For lunch, I got a Tropical Smoothie, which I’m pretty sure is just semi-frozen, fruit-flavored chemicals with soy protein. It led me to conclude that if shit’s gonna taste like Robitussin, it ought to at least get you drunk.

What makes all this worse is that I usually take a good bit of pride in my culinary sophistication. I can appreciate a well-cooked fillet or a fresh, simple marinara sauce; I exist in a constant state of craving for foie gras and proper Hollandaise.

And then I think, “Ooh, questionable cured meat and orange dairy! What a way to start the day!” and proceed to dose myself with stimulants and hospital-flavored milkshake. It’s not so much bad eating habits as laziness combined with a lapse in dietary prudence: Thinking up a good meal was just too much effort, never mind actually executing one.

Well, at least I took my vitamin.

Aaaaaaand now I’m eating croutons right out of the bag. Dammit. Who put these here?!

I mean, it’s acceptable—trendy, even—to appreciate good food and still crave the occasional McNugget. Anthony Bourdain openly admits his love for KFC mac ‘n cheese. But I’ve yet to eat anything today that even qualifies as food. It’s hard to picture Mario Batali chowing down on some potpourri and Play-Doh and then licking the carpet.

Wait, actually, that’s pretty easy to picture. Bad example. (Also, whoa: Things Mario Batali and my cat have in common.)

Anyway, parents to the rescue. Though Ma and Pa are the ones who introduced me to 50s-tastic fare like fried Spam sandwiches and mayo-topped canned pear salad, they also laid the groundwork for my appreciation of real, home-cooked food, made with fresh ingredients and love, seasoned with salt and expletives. For tonight’s dinner, they’re serving smoked Boston butt, fresh-cut coleslaw and homemade, baked mac ‘n cheese. Not only would my grandmother have recognized these things as food; she’d have shown you how to cook ‘em.

After dinner, I’m thinking I should probably head to the grocery store. I’ve got nothing but tonic water and pickle relish in my fridge, and that makes me scared for tomorrow.

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Sick Day

For all that it sucks to suffer a perpetual throat tickle and spasm rattling my lungs, there’s a loveliness to a phlegmy day at home. If this were a Saturday, I’d feel a pang of obligation to accomplish chores or do something more profound to better my life. Or I’d feel like I wasn’t truly relaxing to full capacity, and I’d have to come up with some elaborate recreation.

If I were at work right now, I’d feel guilty for not working. (Or, worse still, I’d actually be working.)

But since I dragged my laptop back to bed at 8:13 a.m. to send an email to my bosses, I could lie there dozing and surfing (and coughing) for a guilt-free three extra hours, only to get out of bed because the article I was reading about palliative care mentioned cottage cheese and mayonnaise, and I realized I really wanted some 50s-tastic pear salad (canned pear half, cottage cheese, spoonful of mayo, and shredded cheddar, if you’re feeling fancy). And also, I had to pee.

Resettled semi-upright on the couch, I watched SportsCenter long enough to see the Red Wings highlight, which still involved way too much Tiger Woods, then turned to Lifetime for a sweet, sweet Will & Grace marathon. When I felt like standing up, I padded over to the dining table to work on my 1,000-piece puzzle of Broadway Playbill covers. The cat did calisthenics.

My sick day: puzzle, cat, infomercial.

My sick day: puzzle, cat, infomercial.

And I am developing new and profound awareness of myself. Like how I would kick the absolute snot out of that Dance Moms behemoth. And this scented deodorant may have been a bad idea.

At 12:45 p.m., I made my morning coffee. But I didn’t have real coffee, so I used instant powder. And I didn’t have sugar, so I used honey. And I didn’t have milk, so I used Breyer’s Reese’s Peanut Butter ice cream.

One might think I should go to the grocery store. Except no: This is a sick day.

Aw, hell. Will & Grace is over. Ooh, never fear: The Wire season four finale.

Perhaps the sick day’s weirdest freedom of all is the complete absence of a mandated schedule. I kept thinking I was waiting for something—for 5:30, as I normally would be—but there’s nothing to wait for. Godot is not coming, nor did I expect him. If the day was to have a milestone, I’d have to mark it myself. And I dunno. That sounded like a lot of work.

My biggest ambition thus far? Epic grilled cheese. Caramelized onions en route.

At 2:30 p.m., I strolled out to the curb to get the mail—barefoot and in my matching horsey PJs. And the mailbox was empty. Low point of the afternoon. I realized that, barring a surfeit of lung mucus, I’d have to go to work tomorrow. I realized I’d have to take a shower at some point. I felt like I should exercise. I thought about getting a jump on tomorrow’s tasks. I was a disappointment. I eyed the dirty dishes.

Ooh, No Reservations? Yes, please.

horsey

Horsey PJs. Giddy up, bitches.

4 p.m. found me mid-round of Wii golf, doubt creeping in about the day’s value. You guys, I really miss Will & Grace. I assured myself that shooting a -13 and then reading TIME on the porch was of exceptional benefit to my health. And for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

At 4:15 I realized I hadn’t seen the cat in four hours. And then I thought, “Y’know, when I compare my productivity with hers, I’m incredibly accomplished today. Frankly, I’m a little worn out.”

And then I bogeyed the 17th. Stupid cat.

5 p.m. Quittin’ time. No more murky sense of obligations neglected; suddenly sitting on the couch watching TV becomes appropriate again.

Whew. Rough day. Time to kick back and…keep watching TV. Tomorrow’s not gonna get any easier.

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Guilt Does Not Inspire

This is an awful attitude to have the day after a weeklong vacation, but: I don’t feel like doing shit.

Well, maybe that’s an obvious and common attitude, but there does seem to be a prevailing logic that vacations should be linked to productivity. That is, you work for so long that you build up a big desire to not work, and then on vacation you can get all your not-working out of your system so you can get back to working again.

Or something.

Unfortunately, it’s not like this impulse for not-working is unusual for me. I just feel guiltier than usual for having done so much not-working in the recent past, and still wanting to do more.

Really, when you factor in the fact that I spent much of the week prior to vacation “winding down” in preparation for all the not-working, it’s even worse.

And, perhaps worst of all, I’ve decided to go with it. It’s not like the guilt was motivating me, anyway.

In fact, I’m taking it a step further: I’m giving myself a pass on everything today. That means, in addition to not-working, I’m not going to anguish about calories and money, either. I bought a double-tall mocha from Starbucks. With whip. And a bag of popcorn. Buttered popcorn.

I don’t know what I’m doing for lunch yet, but I’m not wracking my brain for the cheapest salad in town. And I ain’t goin’ to the gym, either. I’m going to Target to get some Drano, bitches.

The point is, most of this stuff would happen anyway—I probably wouldn’t be very productive this morning, I definitely needed coffee, I didn’t plan ahead for lunch and my morning shower was in eight inches of bilge—and rising. Ship’s sailed. Milk’s spilled. Telling myself I’m a lazy, fat, soon-to-be-moneyless person won’t change my plans. It’ll just make me want ice cream, too.

Even if guilt did talk me out of whipped cream and into Subway, it’s not like I’d feel a swell of pride in purpose. I’d just feel like guilt made me go against my desires and impulses. I’d feel empty. It’d be a struggle. It’d be a whole internal conflict. And I hate conflict.

This way, I’m going with the flow while allowing for the possibility of naturally, positively, sincerely steering toward good things. Good things are even better when you arrive at them naturally and positively and sincerely instead of struggling toward them and depriving yourself and killing your soul.

And look, it seems to be working. I already got a whole blog written.

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Weird Day

Fighting a familiar demon today. Feeling fidgety, frustrated: my pants are too tight, my hair is misbehaving, my back hurts—that’s a reality, actually; my sciatica is killing me. It also keeps the fire smoldering. I have a handful of what should be short and simple paragraphs to write for an article, but each sentence seems fated to fight with the next, and I repeatedly highlight the lot of them and pound them into oblivion with the backspace key.

At the same time, I’m bobbing and weaving these compulsions, so far avoiding a rage-filled breakdown (which always fails to get me where I need to go, anyway). I closed the article doc and emailed it to myself, to be worked on during a healthier mental state. Acknowledge the problem, tell it it doesn’t matter, and then walk away. Your fleshy midsection makes no difference to anyone and is not a permanent condition. Your greasy hair doesn’t matter. Your words will come.

It’s a weird day—this successful dodging of anger included. I haven’t had coffee all week. It didn’t start as a resolution—I overslept Monday and didn’t have a chance to make it at home, didn’t have a taste for it at the office. And then I started to figure that, since I tend to binge on coffee, drinking it every morning and turning to it compulsively when I get stuck on something (It’s like booze for the daylight hours!), perhaps abandoning it cold-turkey would result in interesting, if not productive, personal developments.

So far, it’s just making me drink a lot of tea.

But, and perhaps it’s just psychosomatic, going this long without that intense caffeine edge seems to give the day a kind of ethereal quality. Floating. Philosophical.

Or maybe it’s standard burnout: I’ve skipped lunch waiting for an interviewee to call, and I always get this way after staring at a computer for six hours straight.

Or maybe it’s self-injected paranoia: I discovered a brand new Scientology article—like candy to me—and this kind of psycho-high always develops when I read about lunatics with agendas.

Or maybe it’s absurdist: I ate a shit-ton of meatloaf last night and my physiology is confused and frightened.

It’s an odd collection of things to make up the day. Add to it: talking to a podiatrist just now about bioengineered alternative tissues and bunionectomies. (Also, did you know that “bunion” is derived from “beignet”? That is going to fucking ruin doughnuts for me, dammit.)

I’d been thinking about an after-work stroll and just settling in with some laundry and dish-washing, but now I feel like there should be weirder things in store for me. And that is, frankly, a lovely feeling.

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