coffee time

Ahghghghgh, he would say, and it would stick ever so slightly in his throat. It signaled the first satisfying sip of coffee in his morning. I love to hear it so much that when my uncle offered me a sip of the dark bitter liquid I would accept, even though my face wrinkled bitter every time. It happened many times. The loons would call out over the water unabashed by me – their breathless audience. The mist would disappear shyly when the sun smiled hello. My aunt would hand us washable plates while Uncle Loren shaped and scooped pancakes over the camp stove. And then coffee. While Auntie Londa did the dishes, Uncle Loren would sit on the tailgate of his truck, look me squarely in the eye and silently scald his tongue on rich, black coffee.

“Aghghghghghgh.”

I stared in awe. It must be magical – like Puff, the Magic Dragon he sang about.wpid-wp-1409085615547.jpeg

“Do you want to try a sip?” I could still hear the coffee on his gravelly, teasing voice.

“Isn’t it gross?”

“Best thing on earth.”

“Ok.” I’d burn my tongue for a day and my memory for year.

My first boss started me on cappuccino. “I don’t like the bitterness, but I need the caffeine,” she explained. “I don’t like coffee either,” I said, and we laughed confidentially at the world. I mixed cocoa in mine to take the awful taste out.

Meanwhile, latte-sweater-boots-campfire season set in. I took a test to avoid taking a college class, and I passed! I remember needing something warm, something wakey-wakey, something exciting-sounding, and something quick to celebrate with. Don’t ask me how a gas-station cappuccino fit the bill, but it was the sweetest drink of my life to date. They became a habit. Surely something else could be my rare reward, and gas-station cappuccino could be for work and weekends – the regular, happy times.

All y’all are laughing at me now.

Work and weekends? That leaves mornings, you say. Y’all are right. Mornings were the final step in the coffee-loving of Gianna.

It’s not a shocker to see me stagger into the kitchen looking a bit bleary. I imagine on this particular February morning I looked closer to dead than alive. (That’s bound to happen after fifty-some days of temperatures around negative twenty.) I looked wearily around the kitchen.

“I need coffee.”

“You don’t like coffee!” My brother and sister synthesized on this point.

“I’ll find a way. Today I need coffee.” I googled it. I made it. I made it taste good. I did it again the next morning.

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Now I like coffee. Iced. Hot. Mocha. I don’t like it black yet; I’m graduating in that direction.

Mmm. Coffee. Aghghghghghgh.

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So yeaaaaah it’s September

September! It thrills me from toes to tipppy top – gots the power to stand my pixie up, it does. It’s like the sky opens up just to make space for my wandering soul and things change colors to satisfy the craving I have for differentwpid-wp-1411535687956.jpegIt’s September’s wanderlust makes me want to make eat the apples just layin’ on the sidewalk, take photos of the swimming trees, and make acorn necklaces (ok, perhaps that was really truly Anni’s idea).

wpid-wp-1411606284811.jpegSpeaking of the girl, she came for a wee small visit last week. Really truly she deserves her own post, but (insert some lame excuse) so you see, I couldn’t. Or maybe I just selfishly want to keep my pictures of and with her in a secret, pretty place.

We grew up on playing lava-tag, and climbin’ up fire-poles, stepping across the bridge with pinched feet, and climbing up the slide. Why wouldn’t we do it again?wpid-img_20140917_165421978.jpgI didn’t realize how much this post will be full of people I love. Yay! So meet my brother.

Blog, meet Josh. Josh, blog. Also Josh, meet Cherry Berry. I may be somewhat sold on fro yo. It may be what I treat myself to whenever I pass a test (hint – I passed a test.) Lucky I, it was proctored on the campus where Josh attends. So I made him got him to like fro yo. He be like “I don’t like frozen yogurt. Well, I’ll try it. Oh, chocolate! Oh, Strawberry! Oh, it comes out SOOOO slow. Oh, sprinkles! Oh, M&M’s! Oh, brownie bites! Oh, skittles! Oh, chocolate chips!” I be like “I told you so.” But yeah, celebrating with a yummy something and a loved somebody is just a happy thing. Try it sometime.

wpid-wp-1411605236424.jpegI was in a city the other day, so I did a thing. I walked on a dike, and listened to a band playing Brown Eyed Girl and Sweet Home Alabama, and did some selfying with my shadow, chatted with my sister, … yeah. It was a cool day.

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I am here. Gosh that’s good to know! The things they didn’t tell us, starting out!wpid-wp-1411574287692.jpegI don’t know why I love this so much! Maybe it’s because the “When” is washed off – by rain (presumably.) Maybe it’s because it’s simple. Maybe because it’s so familiar, but it means something different when it’s all by itself. Maybe because it was just in the kind I don’t of park that needed sweet graffiti, and … well I read after a rain.wpid-wp-1411574495550.jpeg

I don’t like football. This lucky child still convinced me to come to her powder puff game. Gosh I love her. I feel old, thinking that the last pp game I came to was when I was a senior, and she wasn’t in high school even, then. She’s amazing anyway, though. wpid-wp-1411535300776.jpeg wpid-wp-1411535545272.jpeg

Dad, do you miss farming?

Sometimes.

Why?

I miss being able to look back at a day, and being able to see what I did.

Yeah, there’s a swath here, and another, and a field changes color once when it grows, and once when it ripens, and again after harvest and after being plowed. A whole piece of land rotates around and moves from one side of “to-do” to the other. All the time the sky watches and your fingers get wide and calloused and strong and your soul shapes to the clouds and something of the land grows and ripens and becomes something of you.

I think this and do not say it. I look at those calloused hands holding a steering wheel out of the corner of my sight and I think of me – we have the same need for sunshine and outside and breeze in the short-cut hair. We have the same need for putting something wild and chaotic into rows. We have the same desire to look back and see a field, and another, razed and bountiful and golden and done.

wpid-wp-1411606879769.jpegAnd how is September to you, so far?

 

Lovelies by Others


So I’m stalling.

I’ll admit it.

I’ve got projects going which aren’t finished and just need a girl to sit and do them. But let me mention that usually, twenty-somethings have a lot of somethings to sit down and do? They don’t all always happen.

So what’s happening is some stalling, and some hopefully-I-actually-get-to-that-tonight-ing, and some blogging about other stuff. Let me start – no I’ll end with that. Let me start with an adorable person – Kaylah.

This sweet pic is copied from that post – obs I can’t take any photo credit. I had to though. Look at that sweet tattoo on her right leg. The sheer amount of animal prints and designs in her outfit makes me happy.

So it was ridiculously handy how recently I graduated from highschool, cuz my face ain’t changed. So yeah – that’s a senior picture over there on the profile side of things. But uh – the hair’s changed. It’s mostly gone. I think the most I can claim is about three inches when I stretch it out. Summers? Amazing. Feels like I have shed a wool blanket. Winters? Um. Shivery. Fortunately there’s a good solution that’s all the rage right now. Ain’t I lucky?

gorgeous cowl, nice blog Like the color block and texture at the changes. Definitely adaptable to crochet!

Yay for cowls! I just picked up some yarn to make this. But like I said – there’s projects just wanting a girl.

I did actually make something like this last year, not knowing how handy it would be THIS year. (And you said you wanted to see my short hair anyway, right?)

wpid-wp-1410397850450.jpegNow – I’ll be honest. (It appears to be something I do well, if awkwardly sometimes.)

Much as I want my coffee and cocoa, there’s a yummy recipe over at Paper’n’Stitch for popsicles that sounds heavenly. Can we have another few days of summer just for this please?

Getting back to that amazing thing I wanted to use at the beginning. Actually there’s two things.

I love mountains. I love camping. This person understands. (photo credit to Oleg Grigoryev).

This is one of those things I will do, if I have any say in the matter. Right away? Perhaps not. Maybe not even soon.

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And this song – Oceans, by Hillsong United

Both these things just speak to the soul that is down there, waiting for mountains and fearless living.

What makes you happy this weekend?

Thai Noodles and Sapphires

Happy Thursday!

Let it be known: I like food. Much.

I also love reading.

So maybe this post makes sense, somehow?

First, the review.

Thai Noodles and Sapphires - Book

Ruth Reichl’s “Garlic and Sapphires” is the book making me all sleepy-eyed and coffee-cravin’ in the morning right now. I was all gonna make this a classy review, but I’d rather be honest than try to fool you. I’ve only ever written one book review (years ago, and probably poorly) so I’m just going to follow Sarah’s example, and use Goodreads’ blurb, my own thoughts, and what the writer in me learned.

Goodreads: Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world–a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us–along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews–her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.

My thoughts: Each character Reichl discovered makes me wonder what other people might be hidden inside of me. I’ve made acquaintance of a few, I think. I like them. But what else could I be with my next haircut, job, project, trip? Might more people be like this with characters in onion layers or rainbow stripes? It’s an interesting concept. At the same time, it’s interesting to see Reichl underneath each one, just trying characters on for taste. I notice that often, after she finds a disguise that emphasizes one extreme of her character, she defaults to to some antithical trait. For example, after dressing and acting as her mom (who sent almost every dish back as unsatisfactory), she discovered Brenda, who saw everything in rose-colored glasses and who brought out the best in anyone she met.

Also, Reichl makes food interesting. I have always like eating, but Reichl makes fuelling oneself into a panorama delight of texture, color, taste and even fellowship. It seems lovely. Perhaps that was meals were really meant for. Of course not all lunches are feasts, but might food and company be more pleasant than boiling another batch of potatoes?

As a writer: It’s a fabulous and important concept to be different in writing. I’ve always  striven for a different style. Something poignant and unique and lovely and varied. Reichl is not. She writes bluntly about the facts and descriptively about the important details. The difference is that the story she tells is different. Obviously, people who do not write well won’t get hired for the new York times. That said, I don’t particularly like Reichl’s writing style. However, she takes a story (that anyone could chalk up as “just life”) and tells it like the odd, sweet, crooked, colorful story that it is. I take it as a reminder that each charming little life is that – a story. A palette. A set of words, just waiting to be put in order and written down.

Now for those that love food like I do.

Here is a recipe that seemed to me like something Reichl would have liked.

Thai Noodles and Sapphires - Noodles

 

Spicy Thai Noodles

Recipe credit doesn’t actually to go Reichl – I found this recipe on pinterest and traced it to LeAnna. (Sorta kinda imitated her photo. It was lovely, what can I say?)

Combine 1 tsp. crushed (or ground) red pepper with 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup sesame oil. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, and then strain the pepper out of the oil – save the oil! (I used ground red pepper, and put a coffee filter in my colander to strain it.)

Whisk 6 tbs of honey and 6 tbs of soy sauce into the oil. Now, this will separate a little as soon as you stop whisking. The point is to get the honey thoroughly mixed in, and then before you combine it with the noodles, whisk it up a bit.

Boil and drain a package of angel hair or thin spaghetti.

Poor the oil mixture over the noodles and toss it together.

Chop: 1/2 cup green onions. 1/2 cup cilantro. 3/4 cups peanuts.

Shred: two peeled carrots.

Toss these last four ingredients in with the pasta, and enjoy!

My family loved this dish, but the noodles did get a little hot. I may have simmered the red pepper too long, however. Make sure it’s only 2 minutes, or use less if it’s too much for you.

So. Got any favorite ethnic recipes, or books?