Saturday, March 5, 2016

Coffee, and the meaning of life...

Even before I was drinking coffee, it had special a place in my life.  My dad always drank it, and because he was up and out of the house before we were out of bed most days, the only time I recall smelling it in the house was on Christmas morning. My first memories of coffee were warm and inviting, and associated with the most magical and wonderful day of the year.

There was also a time when my parents were involved, for years, in a Bible study. Sometimes we'd host it at our house, sometimes it was in someone else's home. Regardless of the location, coffee was served and the aroma filled the air.

My first job was working in a puppy daycare center (best job ever!) and I would open the place sometimes with my boss, who was also a drill sergeant...literally. I'd been around coffee all of my life, but I have a vivid memory of her asking me to make a pot one morning, and realizing I had no clue how. Momentarily dumbfounded, I thought..."how hard can it be? I can figure it out. "So I filled the filter all the way to the top, and leveled it off before filling the carafe with water. As any normal person might imagine, the result was essentially tar. Lacking any trace of a sense of humor, my boss didn't crack a smile when I poured her a cup and asked her if she wanted cream and sugar...and then she never asked me to make coffee again.  I went home and told my dad, who laughed and then showed me how to properly make coffee...a skill that has come in handy way too many times to count.

In college, I began to drink coffee on an as-needed basis. If I needed to stay up for many hours at a time to study or complete a paper, coffee was my comrade.  It was more a tool than anything. Until Jeanne came roommate who taught me to love this precious commodity. We shared many a meaningful conversation over coffee, and traveled distances to have a good cup to accompany our time that we'd share. In fact, I asked her to be my bridesmaid over a latte at the Red Door cafe in Kenyon College.

I also recall, during my summers off from college, earning minimum wage and measuring things I wanted to buy in hours worked. This was also around the time I discovered Starbucks. There is one memory in particular where I discovered that one grande vanilla latte was equivalent to approximately 30 minutes of work...what a steal!

My summers were spent obsessing over my new found love, Starbucks coffee. I wanted to share this experience with my sister, who was 11 or 12 at the time, so I took her one day to have her very first white chocolate mocha. As predicted, it was love at first taste for her as well. She was immediately amped on the caffeine and sugar, and we laughed until we cried. We still talk about that day. (Years later, Christy would become a barista for Starbucks...)

Once I joined the work force, post-college, I began to see coffee as a necessity once more. I've refined my taste over the years from Folgers' Columbian blend, to exclusively drinking Grounds For Thoughts' blends (Candy Bar Classic is my all time fave!) Friends and I would find favorite coffee places in Columbus, and again in Lynchburg, and what a treat those were. I have very precious memories that involve places like Scotty McBean's, Joe's, Stauff's, and The White Hart cafe.

I had a brief scare when I discovered my atypical heart beat, and was told not to drink caffeine for a spell. Thankfully, coffee was not the problem, and I could go back to my addiction drinking as usual.

Now, well into my 30's, I enjoy my morning cup immensely. I've been a coffee addict drinker for a good 15 years now, and am still finding new things to love about it! For example, I ran out of coffee creamer a few years ago, and drank my coffee black. All day long, I kept wondering why my coffee tasted so amazing! Turns out, I like my coffee black. Who knew?! And for Christmas this year, my beloved hubby got me a french press. This is an art form that I'm getting close to mastering, and is a little too labor intensive for daily use, so I save it for my weekends...and it's a treat!

Coffee been a player in my life for as long as I can remember, and I hope I've given it its due in this little blog post!

Back in the saddle...

It's been far too long since I've written anything. I came across a Pinterest pin that outlined a 30 day writing challenge. While I can't say that I'll commit to writing daily, I do want to get back in the habit of it, as it is something I enjoy. And I think it is, like any practiced skill, something that you lose if you don't use. For a long stretch, I thought that this (writing) would be my career! So, in honor of getting back in to a hobby that I goes!

Day 1: List 10 Things That Make You Really Happy.

1. Lists. I enjoy making lists.
2. The beach. There is no place on earth more exhilarating and relaxing to me than the beach. It is my ultimate happy place.
3. Helping people. The joy that comes with helping someone, in whatever capacity, large or small, brings me joy. ..which is probably why I chose a profession in this field.
4. Dogs. Not only to my own three pups bring me immense joy on a daily basis, but really...any dog will do! My heart knows no discrimination when it comes to K9s. If you're a dog, I will love you and you will, subsequently, make my heart leap.
5. Coffee. I enjoy the way it kick starts my day, and have, consequently, becomes something of a coffee snob. In fact, I'm currently writing a separate blog about the meaning that coffee has had in my life, long before I even began my addiction to drinking it myself.
6. My friends from college. These girls truly are my life long sisters, and I am immensely blessed not only to know them, but to be loved by them. They are forgiving and understanding of my faults and short-comings, and ultimately, they get me. They really and truly get me. All of them, every single one, is a woman with qualities I'd really love to have, so it's humbling, enriching and honoring to call them friends.
7. Andrew Hutcheson. He's been the love of my life for almost 20 years. I've known him longer than I haven't known him. While things aren't always daisies and rainbows, he makes me happier than I ever imagined someone could, and is my teammate and partner for life.
8. Cooking. When I have the time and energy to, I really enjoy cooking! It's a creative outlet for me. While I admire the chefs on shows like Chopped, who can make a masterpiece out of seemingly uncoordinated objects, I myself have to follow a recipe. Still...I enjoy seeing the finished product that comes from creating something from nothing, and trying new things.
9. Speaking of food, I love pizza. There, I said it. If I could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day of my life, I'd be one happy lady. Consequently, I'd also be one very large lady with numerous health I don't. But I still love it, just the same!
10. Travel. I am a home body through and through, but really enjoy seeing new things and having new experiences. We traveled to Italy for our 10th anniversary, and it was such an amazing experience to see the history and the lifestyle (not to mention the cuisine!) of the Italians. In college, I spent a month in Belize, which was also incredibly eye opening and humbling. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to see the world from another's perspective. It really makes it seem much, much bigger.

So there's that. I guess I'm back in to blogging...

Monday, January 18, 2016

3 years ago today...

In some ways it feels like much longer, and in other ways, much shorter...but we've been here in FL for 3 years as of today!

After last year's international trip, we've laid really low this year. No complaints here - we live in a beach town! We've focused most of our energy and resources on making our house into a home.

As you know, I like lists. Here are the highlights of our 3rd year as Floridians:

1. Making the trek to Ohio for our 10th college reunion and seeing my girls. The time we had together was precious.
2. Celebrating my grandma's 94th birthday with loads of family members.
3. Multiple trips to Disney (esp with the Fez and Holder families!)
4. Reconnecting with the Cooks in Savannah this summer!
5. A summer full of much needed R&R. Wouldn't change a thing.
6. Seeing Ray LaMontagne live in concert. Aaaaaaamazing!
7. Celebrating 11 years of marriage (the "steel" anniversary).

While it was a very tough school year for both Drew & I, we are looking forward to the coming year refreshed, and with optimism.  We are healthy, we are employed, and we have each other!