Thursday, August 29, 2013

Coffee is Like a Hug

The day was brand new, my eyes heavy coming out of the sleep. The room is warm, even though the sun is barely peeking through the the house. El Paso, Texas during the summertime in the 80s, and outside of the window, I hear my grandmother hanging the laundry on the line. There is a bird chirping outside, and I pull the crisp, white linen sheets over my small body. I never knew how those sheets remained stiff, yet comfortable. I take a deep breath and there’s the faint smell that feels so familiar.

My abuela always made a little cafecito con leche each morning to start her day. When she would lean in close to me to help me with my napkin, smelling her breath always felt like a sacred secret. After our meal, after the dishes were washed, there she would sit in her chair, affording herself a few minutes to dip half of a bolillo into her café as her breakfast.

coffee1

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The house would be busy with shuffling sounds of my mother going from room to room picking things up or organizing. I’d hear the whirr of the vacuum, muffled footsteps on the carpet, and cabinets opening and closing. Then my favorite sound of all, the grains poured into the metal. The water filling the vessel and not many moments later the popping of coffee activating in the percolator. It was my job to fill the sugar container and a small glass with milk. We were having a party, the guests would come over and coffee was always there, waiting to be poured or shared. Lots of chatter, glasses clinking, the spoons hitting the sides of the mugs as their owners stirred the milk and sugar. Daddy never drank coffee.

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Amarillo, Texas in the mid-80s, waking up before the sun, I was a little grumpypants. Never in my life have I ever been a morning person. But one Saturday out of every month, I would have to get up much earlier than I would ever have to awake for school. I’d throw on some old clothes and my ten-ees (sneakers) and we’d head to the church. I’d spend the next hour or two polishing the wooden pews in my church. Initially, I’d be angry to be up that early, but for my efforts, I’d be rewarded with a donut and mom would get her coffee: 3 sugars, 1 milk.

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Summertime errands, I always wanted to go to the bank with my mother. Not so much because of the free Dum Dum we would get in the drive-thru, but because when she had to walk in, next to the free coffee was a glorious, sparkling sugar cube pyramid. I was allowed to eat two. I’d savor them one at a time, melting that sweet goodness on my tongue. And ever so often, one of the cubes would have a lone drop of coffee on it. It tasted good. It filled me with an unexplainable warmth and happiness.

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In high school, hovered over our books, with our calculators and pencils, I’d sit in that booth at IHOP with my buddies. Smelling that coffee and being around my friends would make me smile. I didn’t yet drink it, but I did enjoy the smell. Later, when I was in college, I would go to McDonalds and order a small coffee. Not to drink, but just to enjoy the smell in my room. To remind me of home. To bring comfort me. There were more than a few solitary moments, laden with horrific thoughts of doing harm to myself, and I could be brought back to center with the comfort of coffee. Arms wrapped tightly around my body from within. Reminders that I am loved.

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I had my first child. Running on very little sleep, patience low, I was reminded of the the coffee I’d afforded myself during my pregnancy that helped me to stay awake on my commutes home. I would indulge in a saccharine and calorie-filled caramel macchiato from Starbucks, and ZING, I was a new person. Not only did the caffeine activate my brain to alert, but my body was filled with dopamine happiness.

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Specialty coffee shops have emerged near my office. I’ve made friends with baristas. That frothy goodness from their skilled hands produced euphoric optimism, which worked in my favor. Has always worked in my favor, especially when I’m trying to slay those demons from within. I heart coffee. I enjoy sharing it with friends. I enjoy it alone. It makes me think of happy times. It also reminds me during those not-so-happy times that there will be sunshine again,  that I just need some patience. Sit. Wait. Sip the coffee.

Do you have a special coffee story? If so, I’d like to hear it.

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**If you are still reading this and there is likelihood that I will ever see you in person, then consider this a coupon for a free coffee. We’ll sit, chat, sipping on our coffees, talking about everything and nothing.**

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Someday Has Come

Said goodbye to our little Honda, “Maggie” last night. The Sugarbean called it “the little car.” Some times we’d be loading up to go some where and she’d say, “Mommy, let’s take the little car.”

In late 2004, I acquired the Honda. My first big-girl car, a 2001 VW Jetta, had taken a nose dive into a pit of engine failure. I was fortunate to have an honest mechanic who warned me of the condition before I went down a rabbit hole of expenses for the car. I needed a car that I could afford and I needed one fast. What I ended up with was my little Maggie, named because of the color she was, magnesium.


We made countless trips out to West Texas and Kansas in her. We trekked all the way out to Tennessee and back in this vehicle. 140,000 miles of memories, dings and dents, snow, rain, hail damage, windows open in the hot summer air, sunroof opened to the Texas country sky. This was the car that met us after we returned from our honeymoon, from our second honeymoon, from all of those other trips and vacations. I drove this car to pick up my wedding dress. We brought our daughters home in this car.

The passenger mirror replaced by Captain America because I drove too close to a concrete column and knocked it off. The rear bumper replaced when we had a minor fender bender. We went through a few sets of new tires, found lots of CDs tucked into the corners of the car, and hidden toddler snacks in the upholstery.

I didn’t like this car when I first drove it. There was no leather, the sound system wasn’t what I’d wanted it to be, but it drove. There were times where I’d sit in it and dream…someday I will have leather interior again. Someday I will sit comfortably in traffic. (How nice would heated seats or climate controlled space be.) Someday I won’t be constantly kicked in the back when I’m driving with my kiddos. (How nice would it be to have substantial legroom.) Someday I won’t have to adjust the mirrors and seat. (How nice would it be to push a programmable button.) Someday I will have enough cupholders. (How nice would it be to store my coffee, my water, juice boxes, ice cream, cups of corn, etc,, without having to balance it in my lap.) 

And then I’d be reminded of the days of my first car. Where I would tell myself that someday I would have a car that was one color, had a sunroof that worked, a gas gauge that worked, a radio that I could tell which station it was on, and one where the shocks would work.

Always someday.

But yes, appreciative that I had the freedom to have my own car. And also the freedom to have had a car that ran, until it didn’t.

When it was time for us to look for a new car, I don’t know what I was considering. Many people have this grand list filled with wants. Me, at the top of my list was comfort. I wanted leather seats, but nothing else was a deal breaker. 4 cylinders would be nice for gas purposes, but wasn’t necessary.  And then Captain America surprised me and we signed the paperwork for this new car…


It is a gray 2013 Chevy Malibu with tan colored leather interior. It starts with the push of a button. (always wanted that as a kid and wondered why cars didn’t start like all other electronic equipment.) The seats are programmable, one for me and one for Captain America. He can sit in the back of the car, with his hat on and his knees don’t brush on the back of my seat. ROOM TO STRETCH!! There is a sunroof to stare out into the Texas country sky. Plenty of cupholders.  It has a hard drive! There is an outlet, a USB port, a couple of ac adaptor outlets, bluetooth equipped, cargo net in the trunk. The seats are heated, I can remote start it to cool for summer or warm for winter.

This is the car that we’ll drive when we drop off our girls on their first day of school. We will road trip to West Texas, to Kansas, and many other places. It is where we will kiss one another when we hit each of our milestone 40th years. And so very many, many other amazing moments.

I had tears in my eyes when we handed over the keys to Maggie. That bit of sentimental attachment to our vehicle. I gave thanks to her for the service, wiped the tears and smiled when I pushed that button, pulled out into the road, I was humbled and grateful. My hubby made this deal happen and gave me a level of happiness that I can’t describe. Took me back to when I was a kid and told that I could pick out whatever I wanted and I would get it. I didn’t want to trust it at first, kept thinking to myself, is this real?

Honestly, when I told people we were looking at cars and I said a Chevy Malibu, all but one person asked, “Why?” You know the way they asked it. Some of you might even be wondering why yourself. I believe in American products. Not that I don’t like foreign products, but when given the opportunity, I try to seek American made first. Chevy has been good for us with our Equinox. The Onstar feature rescued our vehicle. The brand has served us well over the course of the past 5 years. We look forward to seeing their exhibit at the State Fair. Even more than that, their Customer Service is top notch. Any hint of an issue, I’ve jumped onto social media and they have connected with me immediately to address a concern. It’s why I replied back to the naysayers with “Why not.” If you are in the market for a vehicle and hadn’t given Chevy a second thought, I strongly urge you to reconsider!  They have an entire suite of vehicles to suit your needs.

Thank you, babe! I love our addition so much!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fresh Kaufee

Remember when I talked about the Erykah Badu concert? Well here’s a little backstory to something I had mentioned in that post. While we were standing in line, I looked at all of the people around me. So many of them seemed to know each other. I was inhaling their energy, really enjoying just being there and a part of the group. I squeezed Captain America’s hand a little tighter.

We had our big camera (Baby) with us. He prefers to carry the camera backpack when he is shooting. I knew this venue was going to be packed and I suggested he trim down and leave the backpack in the car. When he headed back to the car, that’s when I’d met Joonbug.

Joonbug from Fresh Kaufee on Vimeo.

 

After the show, I made a mental note to go search for him and see what he’d done. After all, I loved the shirts that he’d designed for the show (even though I never discovered where they were being sold) and I noticed “Premium Blend” on someone else’s shirt. You can imagine my delight when I happened upon Fresh Kaufee and saw the words “Premium Blend” on his shirts! This was him: Living the dream! Knowing I’d met the artist, I simply had to own my own shirt!

Yes, that’s an honest to goodness coffee bag. This was what was sent in the mail. On the back, were the stamps and the addresses. Folks, it SMELLED like coffee!! I opened it to find all of this:

 

Yes, that’s my shirt, a personal bag of ground coffee beans, a creamer and a sugar, with buttons (minus one that I’d already taken off and delicately placed in a special place). My shirt smelled like coffee, and I had coffee, and….well, all of the packaging was premium, clever, and delightful. If you don’t like coffee, then this is not for you. But for me, it was wonderful and perfect.

The shirt is an American Apparel shirt and high quality. So if you want to support local talent or American made products, this doesn’t get any more local. I HIGHLY recommend this fabulous shop. If you want to be inspired and check out his hand written doodles/drawings, check him out on instagram, user name: freshkaufee.

**I did not receive compensation or any thing for this post. This post is merely my opinion and I’m sharing the niftiness of it to get the word out.**

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