Saturday, June 01, 2013

Still Drinking!

I've been quiet lately but I'm still drinking! I love my espresso without a doubt (not a brewed coffee lover). I will write more again about alligator sightings in our backyard lake and the community search, for example. But for today some insightful (?) words for us coffee drinkers of all types. :-) Which one are you?

     • Espresso: Instant gratification, a quick hit, "the most grown-up of all coffee options," cynicism, sarcasm, even an aggressive cool hunter. Disdains healthy lifestyles, is moody, and sets high standards, aiming for the leadership position with little time for gossip.
     • Black coffee: No-frills, minimalist, cool adult, prefers one-on-one contact, competitive, quiet and moody, although capable of occasional bouts of extroversion.
     • Latte: Watering down danger with milk and foam, prefers safety, wants to be liked, cutesy but conceivably stubborn inside, avoid direct confrontation and delegates the dirty work, a loyal family person, enjoys comfortable surroundings and gabbing with trusted friends. Sex is more snuggly than extreme.
     • Cappuccino: Optimistic extrovert who appreciates style and nice stuff, although not unduly acquisitive. Prefers to start things rather than see them through with all that dull detail work.
     • Instant coffee: No frills, straightforward, cheery but in no hurry to get things done, which might come across as shallow. Highs and lows come easily; not so adventurous in career or sex, but ponders both.
     • Decaf soymilk: More of an eco-worrier rather than an eco-warrior. For those who aren't allergic to cow's milk, the choice may indicate a faux fussiness with a touch of sincere narcissism.
     • Starbucks Frappuccino (and presumably other frothy whips): It's all about the foam and the froth. Trendchaser more than a trendsetter and, ouch, characterized as a flighty poseur with no sense of irony.
     • Non-coffee drinker: The authors reserve the unkindest cut of all for someone who rejects the black brew as being frightened of life and a child (an insult followed by a perhaps conciliatory section on "What Your Tea Says About You").
I fall into the Latte category. As good as my coffee grinder is I still prefer my coffee with milk, not a lot but some. As far as the description goes, I guess I agree for the most part! Did you agree with yours?!
It's good to say hello again as I have my cup in hand. As I've mentioned before if the writing declines for a bit, it is because I'm processing. More to come. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

I got this analysis from an article by Vera H-C Chan on Yahoo. You can go to the article here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What Happens in Vegas...

...stays in Vegas. Is that true?
Well, yes and no! If a wedding ring suddenly is being worn after the trip, people are bound to have some clue about what happened!! :-)

Yes, Brian and I recently returned from the destination wedding of our daughter! Of course it was a wonderful time and a beautiful wedding. She did excellent planning and it all seemed to go off without a hitch. She only got nervous those last few minutes before walking down the aisle. During the ceremony, the smallest of "missteps" was when Brian's cell phone went off! Oops! To give him a break, he was out of the room with the Bride when we were all reminded to turn phones off.
On a side, personal note, I wondered about the potential awkwardness with Brian's ex-in-laws attending. Of course they would be there, that's a given. But this would be the first time I'd have any significant interaction with them. I had no reason to be concerned. I didn't feel any tension; they were easy to talk to and all seemed fine. I think everyone appreciated that (me, not the least of them!).

I had never been to Vegas before. We arrived 5 days prior to the wedding and stayed 2 days after. Wow! I'm glad we got there early, not only so we could spend a couple of days hanging out with the bridal couple,
but also to get over culture shock! I was not ignorant of the stereotypes of Vegas. Some were well deserved, others not so much. For me, two things stood out and required some adjusting. The sheer number of people was the first! Our trip did occur during spring break season so that accounts for a significant population increase. The great number of options to do, so many buildings and their expansive interiors helped. Because of this, I only felt like a cow being herded when on the streets or exterior walkways. At the end of the day, after so much walking, I felt my irritation rise when someone would just stop in the middle of the sidewalk to check a text or something. With that many people moving en masse it's hard to avoid a crash! More than likely, I was also on the way to my hotel and didn't want my way impeded!! 
Secondly, the Disneyland feel on an even larger scale was surprising - very cool! Each hotel/casino had a different theme and architecture which was modeled after various international destinations. I have to say I was impressed with the money and attention to detail each one put into their buildings.

As a former architect I expected to feel like it was cheesy or just too fakey, but the opposite was true. Maybe I just miss Europe so the reminders were fun, although I liked New York, New York as well.

Anyway, the trip was fun albeit exhausting! I'm glad to have had the experience of Las Vegas and of course I wouldn't have missed the wedding for anything!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

Why you ask? I asked. But I guess we'll never know. He, the turtle, (nearly) flatly refused to give an interview! At any rate, he didn't talk! As the evidence has confirmed, it's not the smartest activity for a turtle. Nevertheless, I do see this from time to time. Today was the first time in our community that I saw one making it's way toward the middle of a crosswalk. And he wasn't small! His shell was probably 14 inches from side to side.

During the winter and spring, Brian and I walk a 1.75 mile loop within our neighborhood, probably 5 or 6 times a week. We see all manner of birds, although this time included our first turtle rescue. When Brian went to pick him up, he tried to dig in his "heels" or claws but that was difficult to do on the asphalt, so Brian won! Once brought to the side of the road, he headed for the grass. I trust at some point he made it into one of the nearby lakes. You know turtles; I wasn't going to wait around to see. Our lakes are small, and the community has 5 of them. So we've seen turtles swimming, fish jumping and osprey flying off after diving with a fish in its talons. Rather cool!

On this particular circuit through the neighborhood, we also saw a Great Blue Heron, a Great Egret, and a couple of Anhinga. Plus, there were many other smaller birds, in the trees, singing their hearts out! A wonderful way to start the day - after a cup of coffee, of course!!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Search for a Community

There are all kinds of community. A person might even be a part of a number of communities at one time. This particular activity of searching for a church community has never been my favorite. I'm not a good "shopper" in this regard. It takes so much time, but some group gatherings fit better than others so the effort can be worth it.
We've tried four different groups, two more extensively. We have decided on the church we went to first. I was going to write "we have settled on..." but I want to write about this process in a more positive light! Going back to church has not been high on my priority list. I've been rather disappointed by the last two communities I've gone to. One of those churches I attended for three and a half years. That length of time and other factors made my disappointment quite profound.
Nevertheless, intellectually I have always been convinced of the need and potential blessing of community life. But my emotional response has been clouded by the hurt and subsequent disillusionment which occurred within the confines of this structure. People are people, which includes the possibility of hurt. The blessing and disappointment comes from the same source.
I love God and that has never changed. I also realize the church will never change. The potential for good and bad will always be there.
Today I shall…
…try to remember to be considerate of anyone who has any time been of help to me, even though his later actions might have been hostile.
-Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
“Growing Each Day, Adar 10"
"Then I encountered Rabbi Twerski’s commentary for yesterday and it occurred to me that many of us have been 'throwing stones in the well from which we drank.'"
(The above quote and comment came from a blog I read - Morning Meditations. This particular post is "Throwing Stones.")

I had to realize I'd been throwing stones as well. A lot of good in me came out of attending the church or churches I once did. This is what I need to focus on regarding the past and the future. It's still a struggle as I head off to church each week but it's easier than it once was. Plus, as mentioned, I am convinced of the need for community life for everyone, including me! We need people in our lives because we are made for relationship. I know that life is not full when I delve into my isolationist tendencies. I choose to move forward rather than retreat.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yoga Tuesdays

Today was a good day despite the awkward and sometimes uncomfortable positions I contorted myself into for yoga. It had been 3 weeks since I attended a session. I was eager to go again but wondered how my body would feel about it tomorrow! Time will tell. :-/ It was difficult today for me but that is all forgotten in the growing twilight and the approaching dawn. (See Next Chapter for reference.)

It was good to chat with the person I carpool with; and when I arrived, there were a couple of other ladies who greeted me and welcomed me back! It put a smile on my face. :-) I'm beginning to be known. No dates were set up for coffee, not even close to that kind of connection, but it's a start.

As we began the session lying on our mats, I had a hard time focusing on my breathing -- "being in the present moment because it is the only moment." Nevertheless, I was very content!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Next Chapter

A new day is dawning. Of course the dawn, or sunrise, does not happen in a moment's time. Twilight comes first with no actual sighting of the sun. I perhaps feel (rather than see) the first signs of twilight. Was it so dark before? No, I wouldn't say dark, instead I'd say nondescript. There's been no depression, grumblings or even mild discontent. I've been happy, even. But I think, at least for me, it takes a surprisingly long time to turn the page - finishing one chapter to then start another.

I'm not sure where this story is headed. Do you always know about your story? Although none of us are in control of life, I refer to the general direction. Just today the last of our house guests left for their respective homes. For a time we had two very different worlds collide. Not in a volatile sense! Different worlds literally, but they were also very different parts of my world, or my story. Now that the house has returned to just Brian and I. I'm somewhat philosophical or contemplative. Unfortunately neither of these worlds are part of my daily life now. My world's geographical point of reference is now Florida. However, my story has not really begun here. This concerns Brian in regard to my health and well-being. We women need our relational outlet with other women.

I have learned over my lifetime that rushing things (or people) doesn't really work. I might feel a sense of urgency to do something, get a task accomplished; but my timing isn't always the best. Oh, I'm not saying that if I push through and do something like order a needed item, book a ticket, etc. there are disastrous results. However, the times that I do "go with the flow" (not overly stress about the to do list and accomplishment) I have found, for example, sometimes the price is better when ordering or the timing of the trip would have conflicted with another event coming up. Not always but sometimes.

Most of all I can't "accomplish" relationships. They take time. I do need to be in situations that allow me to meet people. That being said, I don't want to rush into groups and join this or that. I go to a yoga class once a week, although yoga is not about chit chat! And I've signed up for a small group which lasts 3 months, for the gospel according to Dr. Seuss. We will see. Rome was not built in a day. Nor are heart attachments! Nevertheless, the twilight will progress to an actual dawning because my story continues!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

My Approach to the New Year

It's Saturday morning, the first Saturday of the new year. Of course I've already explained my feelings about this time of the week, brilliantly entitled - Saturday Mornings! I've finished my first cup of coffee, read some and reflected a bit. Although I've wanted to write these past few weeks, time and circumstances didn't allow me to sit down and actually accomplish this desire. So, we have some catching up to do!

I hope your holiday season was a good one. Unfortunately, I realize this is not always true for everyone. I'm sorry if that was the case for you. Family dynamics, financial instability, expectations and past echos can wreak havoc on our emotions, particularly during the holidays. Let alone tragedies can happen at any time of year. I'm becoming aware of how I can subtly project my circumstances, reactions and emotions on to others or even groups of people. A small example would be that since I live in Florida now, I can find it difficult to remember that much of the world is experiencing winter. I look out my window... it's sunny and should reach around 80 degrees today.

At any rate, my holidays were probably typical fare. That's not to say I didn't enjoy them! Getting together with family is not only important but fun. (The traveling I could have done without but that's beside the point.) There were a couple of bumps along the road - overwhelmed at times, not feeling well, and miscommunications, but these are part of life. What I loved was spending time with people I see so infrequently.

The new year stretches before us, filled with promise and hopeful expectations. Needless to say, I don't really know what's going to happen, nor am I in control of it! I've not made any grand resolutions. Any goals I have are pretty simple. Two things I would like to see happen (resolutions ?) are: 1) I become more of a reader again. Somehow I've let computers take too much of my time and I want to take some of it back for reading. 2) I'm giving myself a year to get fully settled in the new house. I hate to admit it but we left California (having lived there 3.5 years) without having unpacked a few boxes - ever! So, I'd like to unpack, buy what's needed, paint and decorate. This last goal doesn't seem ambitious to some, perhaps most, but it has been problematic for me in the past.

I don't want a huge agenda hanging over my head. Too many things take place without any plan, whether it be a surprise, spontaneity or just plain out of my control, so I want to be flexible. (For example, it's now Sunday afternoon and I'm finally finishing this post which started yesterday!) I am finding, the simple and very often small choices and activities can bring the greatest joy, impact and/or peace.

Of course, I'm not a type A person, more like a type A-. :-) Therefore many people will not be able to relate with me! That's OK - go for the gusto, A types! We need all kinds of people for this world to function. I'm looking forward to 2013. I hope you are too.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Coffee Grinding at its Best!

The name of my blog is Time for Coffee, as well you know. I have made no secret of the fact that I love coffee. It can be a wonderful comfort, distraction and/or energizer, all in one if need be. I was asked one time what my favorite coffee was. My response was, "Mine!" I realized she meant brand of coffee, but I always felt my espresso machine and I made a mean cup of joe, even though I'd used a few different brands over the years. And, if I do say so myself, I've been complimented numerous times by guests.

Well, I have to confess I didn't know what good was until my husband! ;-) He is good but I was referring to the gift he gave me (Christmas came early). Please remember that Brian hates coffee (though I married him anyway.) Despite his distaste for this delicious ambrosia, he spent hours researching coffee grinders unbeknownst to me. I hadn't complained about my grinder; I've just been thrilled the past month to finally have my espresso machine unpacked and back in use!

Where did he get this idea? I don't know, but I love him even more for it AND my coffee!! OMG! Who knew a grinder could make such a difference?! Sure, I was aware that grinding my coffee fresh for each cup was best. Although I have to admit I usually ground enough coffee for about 3 or 4 cups at a time. After all, I had to fill the grinder to a certain point to run it! I had a system down, a rather crude system but a system nonetheless. I would count off the seconds for the grind, coarseness level, I felt was best for my machine. Needless to say, this produced inconsistent results. In addition, my old grinder has blades which apparently is 'hazardous' to your coffee! They don't really grind the coffee as they are more like a blender, chopping the coffee. Do you want the details? Well, in brief, the blades produce friction and heat, degrading your coffee and the oils left in the grinder can become rancid, mixing in with your coffee. For a more extensive description between the two types of grinders see Gimme! Coffee.

My new grinder is electric but is based on the vintage one pictured here, using conical burrs to actually grind the beans. Now to the results! Can I just say - WOW! As a rule, I take my coffee with a splash of milk. I almost did my usual with the first cup utilizing the new grind. In fact, two drops of milk went in before I thought - Hey, let's really put this to the test. I took a sip of the black brew. Hmmm, this is good. Strong, not bitter and very smooth! Of the four cups I've had since the blessed arrival, only one had milk in it and I think I now prefer my coffee black. I NEVER thought that would happen! The difference is difficult to describe and needs to be experienced.

My life has changed! No, I'm not being dramatic!! I had no idea how vastly different it would be; now there is no going back! I would recommend doing a little research, too. Brian tells me that the high end of these grinders can cost as much as $800! Ridiculous! Trust me, Brian did not pay anywhere near that much. If research is not your bag, or you need the experience first, come on over and enjoy a cup!