Friday, April 30, 2010

Coffee to the rescue

This week we’ve been struck by the crud...again. WIth 2 kids in preschool, we’re bound to catch any virus that’s out there. And we do. I can take the coughing in my face and the wiping of runny noses, but my patience is truly tested by our little ones’ extreme crankiness and sleepless nights. Sometimes I just have to laugh at the insanity when I’m up at 2 am trying to get one of them back to sleep, while I can hear the other start up again. What a tag team they make. Its like they’re conspiring against us.

Despite the sleep deprivation and the fact that I am now also sick (thanks to the coughing in my face), I still have to get up and go about my day; work, meetings, childcare.

The thing that pulls me through is coffee.

Honestly, I don’t love the taste of coffee. I didn’t really drink it until I moved to Seattle. Well, it was hard to avoid in a city that has a coffee shop every 50 feet. I do love the smell which is probably what drew me to it. But mostly, I love the routine of making a pot of coffee, and fixing my cup just the way I like it.

There’s something about having a cup of coffee in front of me that helps me focus. Even before that first sip, just the ritual of sitting down with a coffee in front of me, helps me plan my day, prioritize what I have to get done, and set to work. However tired I am, however much I have on my plate for that day, I know I can get through it because at least I’ve got my coffee.

And its not just me. I can’t even have a conversation with Mark in the morning until I see that he’s got his coffee in hand. It took me at least 10 years of being married to him before I figured that one out.

So, we take our coffee ritual seriously here.

Before kids, Mark and I took a trip to Italy. (Little did we know that would be our last hurrah just the two of us.) One of our stops was a 3 day stay at an agriturismo. We slept in the carriage house of a thousand year old castle in the middle of Tuscany. Yes, you’re right-- it can’t get any better than that. We happened to be stranded there at that castle, seeing we hadn’t thought to rent a car (we arrived at the castle mostly by luck and a very expensive cab ride). So, we spent our days lazily wandering through vineyards and olive groves, playing with the family dog who we named “Paulo”, communing with the cattle that we would later eat that night sitting at the family’s dinner table. We also learned about espresso.

Our room was equipped with cornflakes, homemade biscotti, a hot plate and an espresso maker--the beautiful silver retro kind you put on the burner. We had our first lesson how to make espresso from the young Italian woman who let us in. In our feeble attempts at conversing in half Italian/half Spanish/half English, we learned how to craft a brew of true Italian espresso.

If the ritual of making coffee is good, making espresso is even better. It seems the more elaborate the ritual, the more meditative and focused the act becomes. Coffee is our routine, espresso is Special.

So, when the kids are driving us crazy, work is busy, creativity needs to be evoked, or we need that special focus in our cluttered mind---its coffee to the rescue.


  1. Ricardo the derangedApril 30, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    like.... oh, and what a strikingly lovely mug in the photo.. do you know where one might purchase one?

  2. Why, yes, Ricardo--thanks for asking!
    The beautiful mug was made by my brother-in-law, Eric Smith. You can contact him @

  3. I have just discovered your blog thanks to FB and have just read this one story and it made me smile. I have just recently come to be a coffee drinker - about 3 years now (seems recent). You expressed exactly how I feel about it. I love the ability to focus - so much more important attribute than just staying awake. But, the true love comes from the ritual of making the coffee and sipping it as I settle into my day. Why does no other drink provide the same experience?

  4. Its great to hear from you, Jen! I'm a coffee late-bloomer also, and now I can't imagine starting my day without it. Funny, huh? Thanks for your comment!

  5. I think that you need to also visit this page for some tips on how to write great creative paper. This could be useful